300 events. 40,000 audience members. 500,000 social media followers. This is SciFest Dubai, co-founded by social entrepreneur and science journalist Raya Bidshahdri. “The goal is to really bring culture back to science; to make it fun and exciting through the arts,” says Bidshahdri.
The festival is a massive undertaking in itself, but it symptomizes a greater trend in education as an industry. Namely, it shows where education is failing. The rise of festivals like SciFest Dubai—along with alternative education companies and ed tech companies—demonstrates a reaction to the Industrial Age’s factory model of public, standardized education.
It’s not working.
Bidshadhri explains. “Currently, our education system is just not fit for purpose: student mental health is at an all-time low; student debt is at an all-time high; and traditional schools are dominated by uninspiring curricula, and an over-emphasis on short-term knowledge.”
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