A maxim says “change is the end result of all true learning.” And for self-taught software developer, Tirell Arzu, that learning was not in the formal education sector. He argues that in his experience as an entrepreneur and student, we’ve been wasting a lot of time and many of us haven’t learned a lot of life skills – skills, which he believes could help us reduce poverty and manage natural resources better. He told our News Editor, Dale McDougall about how we can invest energy and time in a meaningful way to optimize the education sector.
Tirell Arzu, Owner & Software Developer, Starlight AI: “When it comes to time and the education sector especially in Belize you know we have to really pay attention to it, how we manage our time in the classroom. As of now there will be a curriculum change that the minister recently put out so now is the opportunity for us to see how we could optimize the time we spend in the classroom to give us a good output when it comes to education quality. People disregard time as something very important and time is the number one factor that we should pay attention to because time is a measurement for everything that we do in this 21st Century and so when I try to break down time in the document it’s to let people realize that they need to pay more attention to the time they spend on education number one. The time factor that’s put into the quality of education and how we could best enhance our education with the limited time that we have now. If you look at what happened during the pandemic we lost a lot of time so that is the reason why I focused mostly on that factor when it comes to time.”
In addition to competing priorities, Arzu, whose company deals with artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and machine learning, is opinion that much of the time in school is wasted on repeated facts and figures.
Reporter: Is it your assessment then that we spent way too much time in school and what is perhaps the most important recommendation that you can give to education authorities in terms of the amount of time we spend in school and how to optimize that.
Tirell Arzu, Owner & Software Developer, Starlight AI: “On average we spend about one third of our lifespan in school when you calculate it. If you go to a Masters degree that’s almost twenty years of your life in school assuming that you live to about seventy five so that’s about one third of your life. Now within those years in the Belizean education sector we could see that from primary school up to high school you’re taught a lot of the same things it’s repetitive information and most of the times irrelevant because when you go to the real working world you don’t use – I’m a programmer and I don’t use algebra in programming. So things like that makes it very unnecessary to learn in school. I’m not saying it’s not important, yes it is because it has it’s importance and where it applies but when it comes to optimization of time we have to realize what is unnecessary for us to cut back on and the Ministry of Education now they’re trying to do that with the curriculum reform. But I say the curriculum reform will go into big trouble if they don’t look at these factors of cutting back of unnecessary stuff. Like say for example you learn the national anthem from primary school, there’s no need to learn anything about it in high school you just take up a lot of time out of a social studies class or something like that when you could be learning social skills instead of the national anthem. You know the national anthem is something that we hear every day, we turn on the radio it plays, so it’s there embedded in our mental system. So these type of things need to be cut off when it comes to education system to give way to things that is necessary and that is where implementing programs that teaches life skills come into effect. Because if you teach life skills in the school system then you will be teaching children things like time management, financial management and those type of things that they need when they go out into the real world instead of just placing facts upon facts upon facts on them that is killing a lot of their time because this is useless knowledge when they go into the real world. So for optimization of time we have to look at small aspects like that that combine together.”
Arzu’s short paper entitled “Energy and Time Investment Optimization in the Education Sector” also” advocates for students to actively participate in their learning. He believes this cuts lesson planning time by twenty-five percent.