Elon Musk believes the current education system could be vastly improved. And it's not surprising. According to Mairem Del Río at Entrepreneur, Musk didn't like school as a child. "I hated going to school when I was little, it was torture," confessed Musk, who was bullied as a child in South Africa.
And Musk's views extend to the university experience as well. "I think college is basically a place to have fun and show that you can do your homework, but that's not for learning," Musk said in December 2020. With seven children of his own, Musk has decided to take matters into his own hands.
According to Del Río, "Musk has criticized America's educational system on several occasions, but instead of just making complaints, he got down to business. In 2014, the billionaire announced the creation of Ad Astra, a mysterious disruptive school with its own system, in which his children and only a select few study."
"Ad Astra, which is Latin for 'towards the stars', [remains] totally secretive. Very little is known about this exclusive school, located at the SpaceX facility in California," notes Del Río. The curriculum is said to include artificial intelligence, applied science, coding, and design.
Above: Elon Musk discusses Ad Astra (YouTube: Kyle Pearce)
According to the portal The Hustle, the goals of this hermetic school are:
Be an alternative to the age segregation model. Musk says that separating children by age does not make sense for education, because students have different interests and abilities that are independent of how old they are.
Focus on problem solving. Instead of giving children 'tools' in a vacuum, they should be taught how to solve problems.
Gamification. The tycoon pointed out that he does not have to "encourage his children to play", since education through games is something natural for children.
The BBC's Christina Simon who once spoke with Musk about Ad Astra says, "The philosophy of the school is experimental... it is [Elon's] idea, it is not a traditional school."
So can your kid apply for Ad Astra? Well... not so fast. "It was said at some point that Ad Astra was [primarily] for the children of SpaceX employees," says Simon. Nevertheless, Musk has made some generous donations to advance free education for all.