years to 75. In most developed countries, with the notable exception of Russia, the
average male reaching 60 can also expect to live to at least 75, and the average woman
At current rates of growth, by the year 2025, the
world's over-60 population will have increased to one billion. Little wonder that many are
calling 60-plus The Third Age. Others are challenging us to abolish the word
"retirement" from our vocabularies.
The over-60s generation also represents one of the
greatest untapped resources for the future of education.
14. The new do-it-yourself boom
The industrial age also gave
birth to another phenomenon: the confusion of structures with reality. Just as giant
corporations arose to provide standardized mass-produced products to millions of people,
so giant organizations arose to "deliver" health and education.
And so we came to confuse education with schooling; health with
sickness-treatment and hospitals; law with lawyers. We came to regard education as
something someone else provided for you; we believed that health was something you
purchased from doctors, specialists and hospitals. Today that concept is changing rapidly.
The new do-it-yourself revolution involves more than painting your home and doing your
gardening. It involves taking control of your own life.
Personal computers can now provide the basis for much
of what we pay experts to do: prepare wills, handle accounts, buy stocks and bonds, and
figure taxes. Every sensible person now accepts that health also comes from what you do
personally: what you eat and drink, and how you exercise.
But in "education" the change is slow to
come. Californian educationalists Renate Nummela Caine and Geoffrey Caine explain in their
book Making Connections: teaching and the human brain: "One function of
schooling should be to prepare students for the real world. They need to have a sense of
what will be expected of them, how they will be challenged, and what they are capable of
doing. The assumption is that, by and large, schooling as we know it meets those goals.
The reality is that it does not. On the contrary, it fosters illusions and obscures the
real challenges. In particular, it fails to deal with the impact of electronic media.
"Take a close look at American teenagers. For a
moment, let time run
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