For A New Education System

Published April 11, 2013

Education as we know it is pretty similar in westernized countries. You have pre-school or kindergarten for the youngest children, primary school, high school/college and finally university. All these stages of education follow a similar structure with a similar hierarchy of subjects with mother tongue, math and science at the top, the humanities in the middle and the arts at the very bottom. This model of education dates back to the industrial revolution because there was an increasing demand for labourers with the basic skills that the education institutions of the time provided.
This model is however severely out-dated in the world of the internet. The world is changing faster and new technology is being developed faster. Technological change will soon make jobs obsolete faster than they are created if that development hasn’t started already. It sure seems to be here already considering the fact that a lot of young people today who have completed a university education are having trouble finding a job in their field. Modern education strip mines our minds for particular commodities because of preconceived out-dated notions of what intelligence is. There is a lack on emphasis on the arts, creative thinking and truly utilizing the potential flexibility that the internet has to offer in the area of education.
The dropout rate in Icelandic schools is a lot higher than in the other Nordic countries. An issue that has not been discussed enough is the fact that the dropout rate for boys is significantly higher than for girls according to an OECD report published in 2011. This is especially true of students who have learning disabilities such as dyslexia or ADD/ADHD who often feel frustrated with the lack of options and do not feel engaged in what they are doing.
I along with several of my fellow Pirate nominees for the upcoming parliamentary elections are planning to introduce an education platform that will hopefully end up as a parliamentary resolution that will introduce a set of policies that would greatly reduce the dropout rate and increase students’ interest in their own education. We are looking at several other policies that have already been applied with great success in other European countries.
Putting a greater emphasis on creativity in schools both in the arts and in more formal subjects will greatly increase students’ ability to empower the multitude of different skills they possess. Teaching computer programming and code starting in primary school will prepare students for a future that is highly dependent on the internet and requires a lot more programmers. Half of the world’s population will be connected to the internet within the next four years and the internet economy is expected to double in that time. Philosophy and gender studies should also be taught in primary school in order to improve critical thinking and give children a greater understanding of equality.
Introducing a more personalised form of education that suits each individual student will give students a greater ability to pursue their various talents. Online forms of education such as Coursera and Khan Academy have already been used as part of the curriculum in schools in other countries. It is only a matter of time before online forms of education start competing with the traditional forms. We need to speed up that process, because right now, we’re wasting a lot of valuable talent to an education system designed for the industrial revolution and we need an education that is designed for the future.



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[Continued from Ungoo: Part VI] The most recent attempt to create a common venue for cultural commentary and debate is Starafugl, a website started and edited by author Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl. It’s been around since last winter. As I have been involved in various ways, I am liable to be considered biased when I claim that Starafugl has had a convincing first few months. I claim it, all the same. Starafugl ran into trouble a few weeks back, when it received its first ever invoice. The invoice charged Starafugl for a photograph, that had been used to illustrate an article

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[Continued from Ungoo: Part V] Radio program Víðsjá, run by state broadcaster RÚV, is in fact a tower within Iceland’s cultural panopticon. Which might serve as a translation for the program’s name. It reports on events and publications, and leaves space for commentary, which at times has been among the best you’ll find: inspired and grounded, informed and enlightening, at times romantic, courageous when needed. Incidentally, if I’m not mistaken, radio host Eiríkur Guðmundsson, often credited for having made the program what it is, was also a student of the aforementioned Matthías Viðar. Notwithstanding repeated downsizing of RÚV programming, the

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Make Yourself at Home

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Air-bnb has announced its future vision —and a new logo. Supposedly composed from a heart, a location marker and the letter A, the logo has already been the target of much ridicule, needless to repeat here. The logo is not the point. One of the its main virtues, according to the company’s announcement, is that it is easy to draw. This serves a function: people all over the world are offered to draw the logo on just about anything they are willing to share for a fee. As the company’s statement says, Air-bnb is not just about sharing spaces, but

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Democratic Principles —the Machiavellian B-sides

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“The president will not discuss statements made in an election campaign, during his term in office.” So said the President’s spokesman in response to RÚV’s attempt to ask President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson about his statements in 2012, that, if elected, he might seek to leave office before the end of his term. His fifth term, to be exact. The spokesman’s response has the structure of a reasonable, if not self-evident, principle, something any member of a functioning democracy would surely understand. Meanwhile, the content of the sentence may be considered somewhat less than democratic. In other times, the same content,

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[Continued from Ungoo IV] Granted, much of traditional paper-based publication is currently in crisis. Yet, most of Morgunblaðið, heavily decorated by ads from companies on friendly terms with the Independence Party, keeps going. (Buying ad-space in Morgunblaðið is not just a political act, but comes close to signing a manifesto.) Its sports pages persist. Without any empirical evidence, my hypothesis as to why they cancelled Lesbók, is that it was open to texts that Morgunblaðið‘s new masters simply would not understand. And what you don’t understand might be communism. Perhaps the old masters didn’t understand it all either, but that

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[Continued from Ungoo III] Until the advent of Iceland’s economic crisis, anno 2008, the conservative-liberal daily newspaper Morgunblaðið published a weekly supplement focused on culture, called Lesbók, literally translatable as Readbook. The Lesbók‘s history dates back to 1925. Around the turn of the millennium its main editor was Þröstur Helgason. As a scholar of literature interested in contemporary critical approaches he would at times be derided by the right for being post-modernist as in non-traditional, and scorned by the left for being post-modernist as in apolitical. Both groups read Lesbók for the sake of irritation, to feel forced to respond,

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