‘Schools should scrap the 3Rs and replace them with comprehension, communication and computing’

The TES is reporting suggestions from a leading academic that schools should scrap teaching the three Rs and instead replace them with “comprehension, communication and computing”

Professor Sugata Mitra, of Newcastle University, suggested that the conventional skills taught to children today were mainly “obsolete” and could be carried out by machines.

Instead, students should only be taught the basics and more time should be spent on learning how to process the information they are given.

“Reading, writing and arithmetic should be deemphasised and replaced with comprehending, communicating and computing. That’s the world we live in today,” Prof Mitra said at the education technology conference Bett in east London today.

“I know these are sacrosanct – but I would like to question that. Why is it so important that it is taught for years and years? Is it not conceivable to think of an app where you can point it to a piece of Japanese text and it reads it back to you in English. If that app exists, would it be important to be able to read that Japanese?

“No, it is important to understand what that text is saying. Comprehension is more important than the process of reading. And there is too little of that happening in schools.”…

More at Sugata Mitra: schools should scrap the 3Rs


Your reactions to these suggestions from Professor Mitra – is he right about the idea of focusing education on comprehending, communicating and computing?

If so, how does this sit next the the government’s current approach?

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…


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  1. james_wilding

    Look after the skills first. Then the performance. Without an ability to read, comprehension can’t surface. Typical educator reaching down from higher education.

  2. Professor Mitra is famous for the Hole in the Wall experiment which placed computers in walls and let children work out how they were used.  But the experiment wasn’t the success it was claimed.  Many of the Hole in the Wall computers have been vandalised and they were mainly used by boys playing games or using art programmes.
    Where the experiment worked was when they were placed on school campuses and pupils could be guided and monitored by those old-fashioned bodies, teachers.

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