By: Kamil Toume
It is my deepening belief that the failure of many universities ‘strategies stems from their inability to determine what they are trying to achieve. There is a total detachment from the reality. Information is available anywhere now on the internet. It can be acquired anytime and anywhere. If universities are just teaching machines, let us raise our hats in acknowledgement of their greater role in disseminating knowledge. But if universities position themselves as entrepreneurial hubs, they will be heavily criticised and bombarded with a barrage of a never-ending arguments with regards to their infertility in producing environments which are catalysing students to think and venture beyond their worrying zones which are exams and grades.
According to this article published by entrepreneur.com, Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple ended up dropping out of Reed College, Richard Branson’s, Founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Records, Virgin Mobile and other Virgin brands, Branson never completed high school, and dropped out at 16 years of age. Not only that, but he was dyslexic and had poor academic performance. Michael Dell, of course, is the founder of Dell Computers. His net worth is said to be nearly $20 billion. He attended the University of Texas, but eventually dropped out. In his college dorm room, he started forming the foundations of what would eventually become Dell. Having found some success packaging and selling upgrades for personal computers, he went on to build a much bigger business.
Why successful people who did not graduate college became massively successful entrepreneurs? Is it a matter of luck or there is a problem with the educational system? As it turned out, universities are set up to produce workers not entrepreneurs. The proof is the huge number of graduates who are programmed to chase jobs not dreams.
Educational institutions promote competitiveness not cooperation.
As previously discussed in the part no (1) of the article, the schools and the universities have nothing to do with helping people discovering their passions and embarking on their purposes for one simple reason. They do not know theirs. This statement results in the second problem which is the Eco system of the schools, colleges, and universities. The way the system is structured is to reinforce competitiveness not collaboration which leads to creativity and innovation. Let us look at the exams’ system, it is organised in a way that every man by himself. It is a One-man Show. It prevents students from playing the cooperative game. It is commonly known that great outcomes require people to cooperate, exchange ideas and think in groups to produce great results. Sitting examinations worldwide, the students sit in a timed race separated from each other and monitored vigilantly. The end goal of the stressful two hours exam is to tick and answer the questions to pass the test and receive the colourfully dotted, and elegantly printed A4 paper which is called a certificate or a degree.
Exams should be abolished.
Schools and universities should dismantle the current standing exams system and encourage students to collaborate not to pass an exam paper together but to find a solution to a problem or create something together. Exams should be restructured to allow students to find a solution to a given challenge. This is when creativity is born. Creativity is not a bullet point on an exam sheet or a kind of a task. It is a series of actions and interactions among people in a certain environment which is constantly inducing higher doses of inspiration. Unfortunately, inspiration rarely does exist in the current educational institutions as there is no higher calling unifying, rallying, and inspiring students for cohesiveness and togetherness. Universities are just teaching centres and they exist to spread knowledge which is easily accessible and individually searchable. Great outcomes require many correlated factors to ensure its re-occurrence. It always needs certain catalysts. It is near impossible for students to connect genuinely and effectively, communicate and collaborate and finally innovate if they are distracted by scoring straight a’s in the exams and this is the only way that guarantees a job at the end.