7 + 5 + 4 = 0: The Crazy Math of the Modern Schooling System

October 10, 2016

“How can 7 + 5 + 4 = 0?“ you ask, wondering if this is some kind of trick question. It’s not a trick question. Let me explain.

Countless people go to primary school for 7 years, from grade 1 through grade 7. Then to high school for the next 5 years of their lives, followed by 4 years of university. All that time spent learning, you should be a master at a few skills, right? I mean, Malcolm Gladwell speaks of the 10,000 hour rule, which holds that 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” are needed to become world-class in any field. World class!

So how many hours of your life do you spend at school? Let’s do some math: you spend 7 years at primary school. That’s equivalent to around 1000 hours per year, for 7 years, giving us 7000 hours. Add another 5000 hours at high school, and roughly 4000 hours at college, bringing us to a grand total of 16000 hours of learning! You should be really good!

But you know it’s not the case, unfortunately. After all the years study, you battle to get even an entry-level job because you don’t have experience. No marketable job skills, no business skills, nothing. Zero. Seven plus five, plus four gives you zero work experience. In other words, your 16 years of study brought you almost nothing. Depressing, right?

I say “almost”, because it will be unfair to say that all the time is wasted – we learn a lot at school, no doubt. But year after year, it’s just a repetition of what we learned the previous year, just in more detail. Year after year of learning for tests, passing tests, acquiring symbols that really don’t mean much to anyone, and then moving on.

Imagine if you were taught a skill at school that really mattered in the real world – something like coding, cooking, art, playing the violin, entrepreneurship, whatever – can you imagine what it will do for a child’s self-esteem, knowing that even though she’s not good at certain subjects like math, she is excelling in something else, like writing for example? Can you imagine how many people, given the opportunity to learn a skill at a young age, will find their passion, their calling in life, and become the great coders, artists, composers, writers, businesspeople of their times?

But the ramifications will be much more profound: can you imagine the global impact of having so many confident young people exiting the schooling system who are skilled and talented in various fields, who are ready to contribute to society?


The good news is that this is not just a dream, but something that can become a reality very quickly. Technology has made it possible to connect with people around the world in an instant. We can attend classes that are taking place thousands of mile away, while single teacher can teach thousands of students at the same time. A practical example of this are the kind of work that CompuKids is doing.

By implementing solutions like CompuKids at schools, we will be giving our kids the opportunity to do something unheard of before: to learn real-world skills while at schools.

Technology has become a sense of therapy…Saturday CodeClubs
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