Over the last couple of weeks, we have been looking at the concept of time. A “lifetime” for most of us will be somewhere around 70-80 years. It is possible for people to live to 100 years old and so you could say that a “lifetime” is around 100 years.
I mention this idea because it is 2017 and there are people all over the world who were born in 1917 and have seen dramatic changes during their lifetime. Here are some eye-opening statistics about life in 1917:
- The world literacy rate was only 23% (today it is about 86%)
- The average life expectancy for men was 47 years
- It took 5 days to get from London to New York (today it takes 8 hours)
- Only 8% of homes had a telephone (today 80% of Americans have smartphones)
- More than 95% of all births took place at home
- Most women only washed their hair once a month
- The leading cause of death was pneumonia
- Ninety percent of all medical doctors had no college education
- Fuel for cars was sold only in drug stores (in America)
- Crossword puzzles had not been invented yet
- There was no such thing as Mother’s Day or Father’s Day
- Only 6% of all Americans had graduated from high school
It is amazing how much has changed and how far we have come in just one “lifetime.” Imagine what the world will be like in another 100, 50, or even just 30 years. But here is the ironic thing, for the most part, the system and the way that we do education has not changed much since 1917. Way more people are going to school and getting degrees but the overall system is still very much the same industrial model designed during and for the industrial age. Did you know that 65% of grade school students today will be in jobs that have yet to be invented?
The world is changing so quickly, and only recently has the field of education realized the need for some dramatic change. We have to be willing to consider how technology and advancements in learning can change the way our children prepare for the unknown future. It is important however to understand that we cannot just run out and make huge dramatic changes in the spur of a moment. We must be wise and be very deliberate and careful with the changes we make. But we need to start making some changes. We need to be willing to do that because our children need us to. It is our responsibility to help prepare the next generation as best we can for the life that they will face.
This year Dalat has been working hard on developing a 5-year strategic plan and a big part of that plan is to think through what changes we need to start moving towards and how to do that. We still have some more work to do on the plan but at the end of this year we will be presenting it to the Dalat community and then begin working towards specific goals starting next year.