The freakonomics effect of a bad education system?

It’s no surprise that Sweden and Korea head the list of innovative countries. But the abilty of Korea’s education system, often accused of being highly stressful and still somewhat memoristic to produce innovation flies in the face of the accepted wisdom that relaxed, collaborative, student-centred learning will produce the innovative people that today’s and tomorrow economy and job market need.

Spain’s education system is mired in the 50s with a broadcast model of education almost universal. Knowledge is highly siloed and the scope for creativity is almost zero. In spite of this, Spain is proving a Nº1 destination for nearshore IT outsourcing and small, innovative companies abound. So what’s happening here? A stagnated education ought to produce a stagnated workforce. I believe that this is freakonomics in action – certain actions do not produce expected results.

If you squeeze students through a rigid unforgiving education system with endless exams and and overstuffed curriculum, creative individuals, for their own sanity, will have to find an outlet for their creativity. As tech provides endless scope for creativity and young people are inherently creative bluesky thinkers, I think that the creativity so long suffocated at school and university suddenly burst forth once people are free to do as they please. Hence the innovative startups and innovative people.

It’s not the right way to go about things and is the ultimate proof of the adage that students learn in spite of their education and not because of it but, fortunately for Spain (and Japan and Korea) it’s a fact.


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