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Does education prepare for reality in society? – Our Future Health Forum

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Does education prepare for reality in society?

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Today I came across a video of a youngster speaking in the British Youth Parliament. Izzy Garbutt MYP spoke about her being able to recite the quadratic equation, but education did not prepare them for how to pay taxes; she isn’t able to maintain good mental health and still has no idea what she wants to be when she’s older. It is a powerful address you should watch first before reading on. (Video from Simon Squibb’s post

Sure, we can argue whether schools should prepare for how to pay taxes, etc., but the message is way more significant here. Does the educational system match what’s needed for everyday life in the current society? Additionally, I think this is a much broader challenge than schools. Does medical education, i.e., in University, prepare you for the actual work, or do you and your educators have to ‘correct’ the skew in some areas afterward during your rotations? Are nurses educated and trained to be compliant with the role, tasks, and, i.e., technology they will face once starting for real? Is an MBA training your skills for the (sometimes crude) reality, or is it an (expensive) start?

Sorry for being blunt above, but the reality -from my experience- is that medical education over the past years’ curricula lacked training on the use of real-world technology, like the use of EMRs, wearables, web consultation, and AI. Sure, as we speak, this is coming into play, but the time needed to adapt to the world out there is way too long.

I was part of the group that changed the curriculum for med students at Radboud University Medical Center in 2015. The group was guided by the then-CEO Melvin Samsom, urging every educator in University to come closer to reality on some aspect of becoming a good doctor. Sitting down with students and educators, hearing the latter how they were educating their students and next hearing from the students how they learned and what other sources were more relevant to them than the readers provided. It was shocking and relieving at the same moment; the disconnect was obvious. Proud we managed to change the curriculum a bit, but it took seven years for the first doctors to graduate from that (newer) system, so there is no quick fix while the world is turning faster and faster.

I think the same goes for MBA, Ph.D.’s and other programs; in general, they have to adapt more swiftly to what is happening in society, as often these ‘graduates’ come into the ‘real world where often there is still a lot of work to be done preparing them for the tasks they face. And YES! I know this is supposed to be a base, and YES! I know they prepare you for academic thinking and critical reasoning.

But still, I think -just like Izzy stated- there is a wide gap and one that needs to be fixed by combining theory with reality and not that we teach them theory first, to unlearn much of that in reality afterward.

We can do better, don’t you think?

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