Australia & New Zealand

Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson

The star keynote speaker at EduTECH, Sir Ken Robinson, has been advocating fundamental change in our education system since his landmark report to the British government in the late 1990s.

Well-known around the world, not least from his most-watched-TED-talk-of-all-time, Sir Ken got a huge reception from the capacity crowd at EduTECH.

While his delivery is charming and witty, his message is very blunt: "Our current education system was designed for a completely different world from today's. The global education reform movement is catastrophically misconceived and must be opposed."

He's particularly concerned with the growing emphasis on PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) rankings and other standardised measures. "It's increasing anxiety about education and is simply grotesque."

"We should think of education very differently from the way we've thought about it in the past. We should think about kids differently from the way we have in the past. And we need to think about teaching differently from the way we've thought of it in the past."
And the need to think differently about them is very, very urgent."

He believes we should shift the emphasis from "outputs" to culture, likening our current approach to unsustainable industrial agriculture that only considers yield, ignoring the long-term health of ecosystem.

"10% of all history's humanity is alive today. We are the largest generation since Homo sapiens began. Accommodating this population relies on us rethinking everything. And education is number one."

Sir Ken clearly had an impact on the attendees at EduTECH. His message to our education ministers was simple: their job is to provide the climate for great education, not attempt to command and control it. "Rather than thinking of education as a mechanism for producing yields, think of it as an organism."

For more on Sir Ken Robinson, visit his website or track down his books Out of our Minds and The Element.

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