On my way to my office, I watched Shimon Schocken's lectureabout self-learning on TED podcast.
I think that self-learning is the boll and education in school is the branches.
Preferences and needs for learning depend on the individual, so no school education can satisfy every student's preferences and needs perfectly.
English education in Japanese school has been criticized for a long time, because despite learning English for six years in high school, few students become fluent in English. .
English education in Japanese school has a lot of problems, but I think that the main reason why most Japanese people can't speak English is lack of self-learning. We, ordinary Japanese people, can live our everyday lives without English. We can avoid talking with people who can't speak Japanese and we know about foreign countries through translations.
But avoiding English apparently limits our world. I wrote about "the meaning of learning a foreign language" in an entry on myweblog. When we speak only Japanese, the internet isn't actually the "inter"-net but the Japanese net.The most important thing in English education in school is to make students understand the meaning of learning a foreign language. If they understood it, they began self-learning and school should just support their self-leaning. If they didn't understand it, school could never make them master any foreign language.