I mentioned yesterday, that today's world highly values accessibility. Most people would rather have resources at there fingertips than to plan and prepare what knowledge they would need to acquire. Unfortunately much of what is accessible is consumer driven or unrefined, unsupported information.
Yet, this presents of accessibility deters our incentive to learn.
In orthodox Judaism there is a history of young males going to Yeshiva and dedicating themselves to the study of Talmud and the Torah. Students would not only know massive passages of the Torah by heart, but they would also the beliefs of different commentators and other respected text.
This type of educational expectation is not drastically different than what you saw in Chinese culture between 600 AD and 1905 AD with their Imperial Civil Service Exam. In China, any young male of almost any class had the opportunity to climb through the ranks of the social hierarchy by taking a grueling civil service exam. There were three levels of exams, each administered upon passing the earliest one. These exams took years to prepare for, and involved memorizing long passages and books deemed Confucian classics, as well as military strategy, civil law, ritual, and art. The test took often took 24 to 72 hours which were to be taken in one sitting.
The education strategy of the orthodox Jews and dynastic Chinese are the furthest thing from today's education strategy. The emphasis is not on memorizing information and passages, but rather on super specialized skills. This has largely changed because of the emphasis on specialized labor (encouraged by economist Adam Smith in 1776 when he wrote Wealth of Nations, Henry Ford in 1910's when he mass-rolled out the Model T's and paid his employees well, and in 2007 when Seth Godin wrote The Dip).
If this is the way it is, an onslaught of a new time how do schools teach? Is a well rounded 13 years of primary and secondary school history, science, math, and reading still what optimizes students? If schools adapted with the social-economic business climate what would schools look like, and how long is this sustainable?