14 January 2019 | Author: Lissadell Breinholt

In 1930, the Choluteca Bridge was built in the Honduran city of Choluteca. Situated in a zone of extreme weather, the bridge was created by the world’s greatest architects as a state-of-the-art bridge designed to withstand the wild regional hurricanes. Robust, sturdy and sure to survive, the bridge faired exactly as planned when Hurricane Mitch hit in 1998. While other bridges, buildings, and roads were destroyed, Choluteca Bridge continued to stand, a testament to its structurally intended permanence.

There was just one problem…

While Choluteca stood still, firm, unchanging – exactly as the architects had planned, the river that it once crossed had moved, and the roads leading to and from it were destroyed. What had once seemed like state-of-the-art construction could not adapt to the new environment and was rendered useless. What is the point of a strong, unbreakable bridge going nowhere?

Choluteca Bridge, Honduras.

Choluteca Bridge is now a great landmark, but it is also an important lesson. A lesson in what happens when you cannot adapt. The well-known quote “every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets” aptly summarises the situation that occurred.  It is also an excellent metaphor for our education system and a sign of what lies ahead if we stay stuck in current modes of education that serve antiquated purposes.

Rote learning, subject silos, inflexibility in system and discipline choices, these all prepare students for an industrial world that is rapidly becoming obsolete. Like Choluteca, education systems around the world have become ‘Bridges to Nowhere’.

It is on this basis that we make a case for change – for a new, resilient education system. A system that prepares students for a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world. One that develops conscientiousness, adaptability, critical thinking, active citizenry, and an appreciation of the systems (man-made or natural) in which we operate. We need this now more than ever – in a world that is changing so rapidly, we can hardly predict the future.

Routes to Resilience programmes seek to develop the key literacies needed for the rapidly emerging future – including global social and environmental consciousness, systemic thinking, integrated literacy, active citizenry and, of course, resilience – through our Learning Journeys, Sygnature Programme, and Mastery of Leadership in Action. And, because we value the extraordinary power of an educator to influence the direction of the next generation, we also work with educators, to develop future leaders and their mentors in parallel.

For more information about our programmes, and how they support leadership in education and prepare youth to be leaders in practice in a VUCA world, click here

To read more about Choluteca as a metaphor for disruption, click here.

If you are interested in participating in thought leadership on encouraging educational reform, be sure to connect with us and stay abreast of developments in our Education Leadership Lab planned for 2019-2020.


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  • Abolaji Olubukola says:

    What great insightful reviews, this is happened before the covid 19 pandemic.
    Nations of the world must start thinking about a far better lasting and endure education for sustainable development Goals
    A word should be enough for the whole world!

  • Chrispus WAWIRE says:

    Great thinking. We need to read signs of the time and adapt

  • Vinay Mehta says:

    Looking from a Civil Engineer’s perspective, instead of building another bridge over the river (I do not know whether that has happened yet or not), the river can be channelized to flow under the same old bridge, and it can take care of future hurricanes as well that it does not change the course in a particular stretch. Adjusting your perspective to adapt to changing circumstances is also a part of engineering!

  • KRISHNAN S Iyer says:

    Incredible effort by the engineers.Hats off to all the persons involved in the project.

  • Kennedy L Mtonga says:

    Very educative and full of insight.

  • Lizwe says:

    An incredible insightful piece of info.
    Our education system has prepared us to behave like robots

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