The real disruption in education is taking kids out of the classroom

By March 27, 2013Innovation

The news in the FT this morning (paywall, sorry) is that Amol Bhave, a 17-year-old from Jabalpur, India has been accepted into MIT based on his results in online courses offered by edX, a non-profit online education venture founded by Harvard and MIT. Amol said the following about his decision to take online courses rather than go to a local school:

I really felt that the quality of education online was far, far better than [my] school. It opened doors to me for getting into colleges such as MIT which I could never even have dreamt of getting into from my town.

I think the same will increasingly be true for kids in the developed world. Established educational establishments and curricula were designed in and for a bygone age and the pace of change is so fast now that they are unlikely to catch up.

The alternative of parents and children taking charge of their educations has many cultural and legal barriers to overcome but I think some of the best and brightest will start to go down this route so they can get the best education and the best start in life. Making it work will take real commitment from both parent and child though, at least in the early years, so what is effectively home schooling won’t be for everyone. I still have a few years to work it out, but I’m starting to think about whether it might make sense for our kids.