Why the school system is not fit for today's society: 7 smart solutions to improve schools

Education has three problems that we have been carrying around for years, but they can be eradicated.

whiteboard with two backpacks on two chairs


Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world

Have you ever thought about what school is for?


What is its real role?


On average, the first two decades of our lives are spent in school, among books, study, classmates and professors.

School is the place of growth, learning, knowledge, and friendship.


The benefits of school and the problems that education can solve are many.

The reality is different and more complicated.


Although Italy is a first-world country, Italian students are the most anxious and stressed on the globe, this is what the latest OECD data report.

56 percent of students are nervous when preparing for a test, compared to the OECD average of 37 percent; and 70 percent enter into high anxiety when faced with a test, even when prepared, compared to the average of 56 percent.


Also the report points out that “school anxiety is one of the major factors associated with low satisfaction with life.”

In addition, the OECD stresses the need for study quality.


Life and school are rightly related.

five books and a notebook with a pen

But in a society and world that are constantly changing, how can schools adapt? Or rather.


  • Is the current school system adapted to today’s society?
  • Can school quality have anything to do with the quality of study and in the school-life relationship?
  • What are the problems? And the solutions?

According to British educator and writer Ken Robinson, the school system to which we have all been accustomed was designed according to the ideas and needs of the industrial age whose sole purpose was to create workers.


The advent of the Internet and the use of technology such as the interactive whiteboard have made it possible to create a more advanced educational system, but little has changed.


The structure is pretty much the same: the method of learning, the study, the routine, the hours spent studying.

The system we are used to is outdated and inefficient, as there are as many as three major problems in education:


  • The idea of linearity
  • Competition
  • Conformity

The 3 Problems od Education

• The idea of Linearity

a red knot on a trunk

Most people think that by following a well-trodden path, starting in kindergarten and then continuing through college, following the rules, without making mistakes, they will be set for the rest of their lives.


But this is not the case.


Life is not linear; it is organic.


For example, there is a real obsession with having to go to college-which is not wrong, on the contrary! But one doesn’t necessarily have to go to college immediately after finishing high school.


It may be that someone wants to jump into the working world first, gain experience, save some money, and then study.

Or a person simply wants to take a gap year to understand what they really want to do, what their passions are.


There are those who already know what they want to study, who want to become, and then maybe they find out that they don’t actually like it and have to start over.


Life is not linear, there are so many branches and numerous nodes.


It is a continuous growth and we create our lives through our passions and talents.

• Competition

six people with their hands in the center

They think about being better than others and not improving themselves.


Pupils are firmly convinced that a grade represents their real worth, that an exam is their existence.

Or we compare ourselves to others.


We feel inferior if we finish college or academia late because maybe our friends graduated before us.


It is possible to find and create your own way even in your 30s, in your 40s.


It is not a race to get there first.


Instead of cooperation most people think about how to overwhelm each other and that there is no room for everyone.

One’s success does not determine one’s failure.

• Conformity

a red tulip in a field among yellow tulips

There is a culture of standardization, “fast food model” taking up the pedagogue’s words, “It impoverishes our spirit as fast food reduces the strength of our body.”


Conformity crushes our passions or they are not valued enough.

It kills creativity, as Ken Robinson explains in his TED Talk, which currently has the highest number of views, more than 70 million on ted.com and 23 million on youtube.


This is a real problem. Most of us have felt crushed.


Each of us has characteristics that differentiate us and can be our strengths.


We need to focus more on the uniqueness of people.


What makes you different?

7 Points for Improving School Education.

hand holding a bulb

Education is not a mechanical system, it's a human system

Sir Kenneth Robinson talks about the need to have an Education Revolution as there is a “human resource crisis.”


We live in a hyper-connected world, but it is only recently that technology has taken over the Italian education system, still lagging far behind the rest of Europe, and COVID-19 has only highlighted the problems that are there.

Unfortunately, four years after COVID-19, the breakthrough that could have been there to take full advantage of the great potential of the Internet and digital has taken a tiny step.


Writer and entrepreneur Seth Godin talks about how schools should be designed according to the new model of education thanks to the Internet.


I summarized them in 7 points:

1. Homework during the day, lectures at night

That is, the opposite of what we are used to.

Ideally, we find a topic we like, study it, and the next day tackle it in person with a teacher who helps us, asking questions, exploring the topic that interests us.

Underlying it is this idea of creating a community where we dialogue and learn from each other, get involved.

No passive students

2. No memorization

Or rather, less mnemonic study and more learning, in that memory is certainly useful for learning multiplication tables and basics, but there should be more focus on understanding a topic, going deeper into it.

Kids need to be taught how to think and not what to think about.

3. Access to any course, anywhere in the world and whenever you want to do it

So no linear education, one of the problems that pedagogue Sir Ken Robinson had pointed out.

Thanks to the Internet, it is already possible to learn anything you want and for free, like YouTube.


Few people know it, but there is a site, the Kahn Academy, in which you can learn for free.

It is also available in Italian, but has fewer lessons than the original, English version.

The site is perfect for elementary and middle school children.

Speaking of free sites, one should not forget about all those blogs that write about a specific topic.

 Internet is full of sites, of videos where you can learn what you want.

4. Precise, focused instruction instead of mass, generalized instruction

Neurologist Lara Boyd explains how science shows that every brain is different and everyone learns differently.

It is necessary, and possible I would add, to have multiple and different types of education.

No conforming education.

table with five laptops

5. Experience as a voting system

One of the main problems in the Italian educational system is thinking of passing an exam as the sole and ultimate goal of learning.


I used to think this way, too.


For me it was more important to get a good grade, maybe even cheating, than to actually learn the subject and understand the topic.


It is thought that our value is represented by a grade and that we are worth less than those who got a higher grade.

Instead, using experience as a grading system can develop many skills such as individuality, curiosity, creativity, cooperation, and problem solving. Skills that are required in the work environment, but ultimately help you in everyday life as well.also

6. More attention and importance to the role of the teacher

Very often teachers are not able to do their job because they have not been educated to be a mentor.


What we need is someone who persuades people to want to learn those topics and who encourages them to improve, knows how to use the Internet and digital to their advantage.


We no longer need a teacher who reads the lecture of the day.

The teacher needs to know how to deal with issues such as bullying. Most teachers do not act, ignore, or worse, rage.

7. Lifelong learning

Here we are talking about a shift in perspective.

Lifelong learning means studying and learning so that it is forever and for oneself; not because “I have to pass the exam!”

A most important approach that should be taught from childhood.

One never stops studying and learning.

Life is a continuous exploration and learning.

Two Reality: Denmark and Finland

a boy and a girl holding books

This Education Revolution really sounds like utopia.


Yet you should know that some of these points I mentioned above-experience as a voting tool, greater importance to the role of the teacher, the lifelong learning approach-are already part of the educational system of Denmark and Finland.


In Denmark, in fact, they talk about compulsory education and not compulsory schooling.

They are not obsessed with grades as here in Italy, because experience is the most important factor. In fact, in the Danish school system there are no grades until the age of 14! Crazy, isn’t it?


Speaking of the experience factor, Finnish teacher Anneli Rautiainen explains how the system works in Finland: “Assessment is continuous, guided and supported. Grades are not just based on tests. Tests are part of learning, but they are not the heart of it. You can demonstrate your ability by doing projects or through oral presentations. If you fail a test, you can retake it at another time and continue learning in between.”


Speaking of teachers, in Denmark and Finland, only a very small percentage succeed in becoming educators. Teachers must constantly update themselves and attend courses. The teaching profession is considered among the most important in the country so quality, the highest, is preferred.


In Danish schools, students aged 6 to 16 dedicate one hour a week to a lesson on empathy.


Children learn how to share and solve their problems with classmates and teachers. In the classroom they are taught not to judge the emotions they see, but to recognize and respect those feelings.


Lifelong learning is part of Danish culture. Adults are also incentivized to keep learning something new, improve skills.

The two Nordic countries are a true reality from which we can draw inspiration because Finland and Denmark are ranked first and second, respectively, on the PISA list on the world’s best education system.


Not only that.


Since 2012, The World Happiness Report has been compiling a list listing the happiest countries in the world.

From 2013 to the present, the two Nordic countries are always in the top 10 positions and, to be more precise, in the top 3 from 2017 to 2023.


It is true that the concept of happiness is very personal and surely there will be Finns or Danes who are unhappy.

But that is not the point.

It would seem that at the basis of their happiness, education makes a difference.

So it is worth striving for change.

What YOU Can Do

four little papers which compose the phrase "you are the change"

If you were asked what is the best investment, what would you say [...]? I personally think the right answer is: probably education. The best investment in fact is putting money into the brains of the children, into the development of their intelligence, their ability to be creative, competent, adapted to the new world that is opening up.

The Education Revolution does not happen overnight. No doubt it is a long and difficult process. Yet you who are reading this can help change the education system.

Scientist and political scientist Erica Chenoweth has studied that a small minority, 3.5 percent of people can change the world. The first step is to take responsibility if you really want to change something you don’t like, if all you do is complain.

  • Is this problem too big and difficult to change?
  • Is it impossible for one person to make a difference?

I am sure you have heard about a young girl who single-handedly protested (and still protests!) every Friday against climate change and sustainable development in front of the Stockholm parliament.

Her constancy caused her to be seen at some point.

One could not help but notice her.


I don’t say you have to take to the streets-you can use social media to be heard by other, many people who share the same goal as us, to improve school education. Another solution might be to start from the inside.

In classrooms, in schools-or in DAD-you can start talking about it, get an idea.


You, the student, can talk about it first with the class, compare and analyze the points better. And maybe once you decide it’s worth discussing, you can make better use of class assemblies.

You, teacher, can get the desire to give and do more for the kids started from you, really mentoring and guiding them through this uncertain time and helping to change their mindset. Because at the end of the day, it’s a matter of perspective.You can talk about it with your fellow teachers as well.

You, parent, could also try to show your children these possibilities by talking about it with other parents and discussing it in assemblies.


Be part of the 3.5 percent of people!


people pointing on a monitor

The school system we are used to is outdated and inefficient, unsuitable in the society we live in, as three major problems of education are present:

• The idea of linearity
• Competition
• Conformity


Thanks to the Internet, it is possible to start the Education Revolution by focusing on quality education:

• Homework during the day, lectures at night
• No memorization
• Accesso to any course, anywhere in the world and whenever you want to do

• Precise, focused instruction instead of mass, generalized instruction 

• Experience as a voting system

• More attention and importance to the role of the teacher

• Lifelong learning


This Revolution does not happen and does not demand that it happen overnight. I am aware that it is not easy, but Revolutions are not easy!


However, it is possible that there can be a revolution because two of the best countries in the world, Denmark and Finland, already have some of the points listed above in their school education systems-experience is important, lifelong learning as an approach to life, the importance and focus on the role of the teacher, and the value to empathy.


We can learn from the best. We have a way forward.

You can allow the revolution to happen.

By talking about it with classmates or professors, you can start a conversation among your colleagues if you are a teacher.

Social media is the best place to talk about it and spread the ideas.


If you found a this article helpful, share it with your friends, colleagues, and alumni. Leave a comment on what you would change or leave in the Italian school system.

Education is the foundation of society and thanks to the means we have today we can improve it. We can make school a place where we can learn, show our passion without any shame, share and cooperate with others, appreciate our uniqueness.


Let’s take advantage of this possibility.


It is worth trying.

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