Continuing my rant on education, I wish to place on record some of the interesting developments that are happening around the world in shaping young minds.

Scratch from MIT, helps young people to think creatively, and helps them to create fabulous stories.  Steven Levy states in his article celebrating the ten years of scratch state how it inculcates a very different set of values in a young age.

“These values include reverence of logic, an unshakeable belief in the power of collaboration, and a celebration of the psychic and tangible rewards of being a maker.”

In my view, scratch enables kids to dream of their stories and bring that stories to life in an extremely intuitive way.

What do you think is the most innovative product since iPhone?

In a research done by CBInsights, the answer was the humble Raspberry PI. It even beat the TESLA S model.

So, what can we do with Raspberry PI? I think you can do almost anything with Raspberry PI.  It has paved the way for an avalanche of crazy ideas and realizing them economically and easily. No better way for anyone to fall in love with computing in general.

Arduino, Raspberry PI’s cousin, makes it easier to build any electronic projects easily.

Duolingo has changed the way we learn English or any other language.

KhanAcademy has become my de-facto source to refresh or understand any topic in science or maths.

A couple of years back, I wrote about my experiments with MOOC, and till date, though I have reduced the pace significantly, I have not halted it.

Singularity University was created to work on exponential technologies.

AltMBA challenges the way we think about our work.

Peter Thiel Fellowship gives grants of $100,000 to drop out of school and pursue ideas of impact

CharacterLab advances the art and science of character development. Look at their character growth card template, and you would agree that they form the most important traits of development in an individual.

The list can go on.

So what is my grouse?

My grouse is that some of these things should become systemic.

I cannot find one good reason why Scratch should not be made mandatory.

I cannot believe that schools continue to source Windows-based PC in their labs. I am not against Windows, but for 5 windows desktop machines, it is possible to have 25 Raspberry and Arduino combinations, that shall help kindle the curiosity of children, and it is easy to have a mix of both.

I am not complaining that we do not have programs like this here or there is lack of awareness. But I do not have anything in my arsenal to counter the argument

How will it increase my pass percentage?

How will it increase the percentage of my student’s marks?

What role any or all of the above plays in increasing my kid’s marks?

Incidentally, I subscribe to James Altucher’s newsletter and I found the below in his recent mailer sent three days back.

I have a problem. I asked my 15 year old daughter what she’s learning in school.

She told me that in math she’s learning about how to find the “volume of a cone”.

I’m thinking to myself: hmmm, if I’m ever an Ice Cream Man (I capitalized it because I sort of feel like “the Ice Cream Man” was a superhero to me when I was a little kid)…if I’m ever an Ice Cream Man and some little kid asks me, “Can I please have a 0.33 liter vanilla ice cream cone?” then how am I going to figure out how much to put in that cone?

How will I do it? Do I need a refresher course?

So I asked my kid what she’s learning in a course called “Global”. I’m not sure what a course called “Global” is about but I’m afraid to ask because I think I asked it 100 times before.

She told me she has a special project. She has to write about what she’s learned from all the homework they did this year.

“So…” I said, “you have homework now ABOUT your homework.”


“Well, what about Science? What are you learning there?”

“We’re learning about acids and bases.”

“That’s good. Stay away from acids because you can burn yourself.”

She said, “Well actually you can burn yourself from bases also.”

I did not know that.

My problem is that I’ve learned a lot in life. I’ve learned about how to deal with people, how to have ideas, how to be creative, how to be healthy, how to sell, how to negotiate, how to know who is good for me to be around and what sort of people I should avoid.

And, even given that I know these things, it’s still hard for me to live a steadily improving life.

Life is difficult, it’s really hard to survive every day. It’s hard to make decisions. We constantly have harder problems as we age.

So the problem is: my 15 year old is learning NONE of that.

No kid will ever need to learn how to find the volume of a cone for the rest of their lives.

No kid will ever need to know what a base is unless the are the one kid out of 100,000 that becomes a nuclear chemist.

That’s my problem: how to educate kids better. [Yes, this will get to book].

I just told the beginnings of a story of why I think this is important. I can flesh out this story a bit more:

– Incomes for young people ages 18–35 have been going down for the past 25 years.
– Most jobs created are part-time jobs or jobs for companies of less than ten people.
– Student loan debt is higher than ever at almost $2 TRILLION dollars that our kids have to pay back.- Income inequality at the workplace is higher than ever.

And so on. Lots of problems combined with the fact that kids are learning the wrong things and successful people eventually learn the right things.

So I just told a story and I mixed in some hard truths about that story.

Now I can make a list.

Here are the things people need to learn at a young age in order to be successful:

– Health
– Creativity
– Emotional connection
– Communication skills
– Negotiation

So, is there a way out?

All is well or do we find the need to shift the status quo?

I will conclude this next week, but my thoughts and research on this shall continue.

Enjoy Maadi (Have Fun)