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The Industrial Model

  • Written by Paul Shola Oguntade
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The problem is summarized in this statement;

“Education from time has followed the model that treats the learners as objects into which knowledge is put into and not as subjects in the learning process

To give meaning to this statement; it must be understood that education or to EDUCATE has to do with learning, tutoring, mentoring, edifying, extraction, nurturing, to enlighten, educe (educere- to draw out)…

“To develop the innate capacities of… To draw out latent potentials… To develop the faculties and powers of a person by instruction or schooling.” ~ Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and Random House Webster Dictionary

Overtime, teaching has been taken as a delivery process only; the students attend school and they are taught. What ought to be is that teaching should be an extractive process; one that discovers and nurtures, as well as a delivery process.

As we have observed, the model of education we have now was created for some sets of societal needs, and that is a fantastic reason. However, we are experiencing the need for originality, creativity and innovation like no other times in human history. We are in the knowledge worker age; soon, there is the proposed Age of Wisdom. All of these points to the fact that we are moving from thorough mechanism to more soft and intellectual system. And unlike before, the need for the EXPRESSION OF HUMAN DIVERSITY is higher. That cannot be achieved were only a limited set of human possibility is maximized.


The formal education we have now was modelled for the industrial economy, and so the criterion of subjects, the curriculum, the assessment method, and the mode of teaching was customized for the thriving of industrialization. Students went to school to get literate, and to be schooled for a skill relevant in the industrial economy.

The result was that the sciences and the social science were at the top, and at the bottom were the arts. Wanting to be a musician was not so relevant, the desire for dance was silly, to want to be a comedian was out of it. You go to school to become an engineer, an economist, a banker, a stock broker, a doctor, an architect, surveyor, an accountant, a lawyer, a politician and many other professions that grew the industrial economy. That was when we just witnessed the succession over the Agricultural economy, so wanting to study soil science or any agricultural course was out of it.

All over the world, Mathematics and Use of English are the top most priorities. Students are taken through learning literacy and numeracy, and then focus is shifted into preparing their minds for the more professional occupations. Automatically, Science, Engineering, Technology and Social Science related courses and professions became the most pursued. The child who has interest in dance, painting, or the job of a fire man is stigmatized out of it.


Formal Education consists of three related areas: curriculum: what is to be learnt; Pedagogy: how it is to be taught and Assessment: how progress and attainment are judged.

The curriculum decides it all.

What is to be taught is the concern of the curriculum; it also dictates how it is to be taught (pedagogy), and the assessment methods. Since the priority of the curriculum is to prepare the child for the industrial economy, automatically, some fields are left behind.

The industrial model was created with the mindset that we go to school for survival. Children are told to go to school so they can be rich and have a good life. They are told not to study a course because it would not get them a “GOOD JOB”.

In the school system, there are activities called extra-curricular activities, these are activities taken not as major. If you check the content, they mostly fall in what is termed as “not academic; they are activities such as sports and physical education, excursions and field trips, music, dance, drama, to some extents arts, foreign languages and the likes. Amidst the curricular activities also lies this stigma. Not many children would be proud to study history, language or library studies.

Assessment methods also contribute to the stigma. The cut off marks for those top ranking courses are far higher than that of the low ranking courses. While there are explanations defending this, it is also obvious that the second category of priority is regarded as less rigorous and important.

Another fault with the assessment is that it could be too conclusive, there is an expected outcome, any creative attempt out of it is judged wrong. While standardized assessment is not totally bad, it also does not give much chance for creativity and innovation. Hence, learners adapt to that pattern, and that in itself is the killer of original expression.

If you are not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original” ~Sir Ken Robinson

Assessment method commonly used is the paper based test, which is good but not entire. It would be better if other ways to assess would be generated. Paper based tests can be cheated; by rote memorization a paper based test could be passed, also it does not have the full ability to test for other types of intelligences except for the conventional verbal and numerical intelligences.

Most assessments are pencil and paper based, and as such are not authentic assessments. They do not assess the learner in the act of doing something, but instead ask the learner to make a choice about what they might do in a given situation. This is not ideal!

~ Carla Lane, Ed.D. Executive Director -The Education Coalition



Methods of assessment can take many forms: from informal judgements in the classroom, to written or practical assignments, to formal public examinations. They can draw on many forms of evidence: from children’s attitudes and participation in class, to portfolios of course work, to formal assignments in writing or other media, to conventional essays and examination scripts. All of the work that children do can provide evidence for three distinct but related functions of assessment.



  • Diagnostic; To analyse pupils’ capabilities and aptitudes as a basis for planning.
  • Formative;To gather evidence about the pupils’ progress to influence teaching methods and priorities.
  • Summative;To judge pupils’ achievements at the end of a programme of work.


All three functions of assessment are important in schools. In practice, national assessment puts the strongest emphasis on summative assessment.

~extracted from Oceans of innovation; Michael Barber, Katelyn Donnelly and Saad Rizvi


The industrial model never regards the WHOLE HUMAN. It has its goal - to prepare students for competence in the industrial economy; and so not all of human potential will ever feature in its priority.