Albert Einstein once gave an exam to his students, and 15 minutes into the exam, one of the students stood up and asked, “Aren’t the questions in this year’s exam the same as last year’s exam?” Einstein replied, “Don’t worry; the answers are different this year.”
This story is quite relevant to our education pattern, syllabus, and curriculum. There has been little to no change in the basic curriculum in the past 30-40 years, but the needs of the world have evolved.. These days we are experiencing an explosion of information, our handphone has more information than the largest library in the world.
Employers are no longer looking to hire people who know things. They are looking for people who know what to do with what they know. People who can think differently, inspire, motivate and lead others and solve problems without giving up.
The schools need to evolve keeping in mind that pedagogical practices are changing, and education has moved beyond the idea of learning just to ‘make students exams and college ready’. Teachers need to move from didactic teaching of content to building skills that children will need when they grow up and go into the real world.
Already today, most working professionals are finding their jobs are getting more and more difficult. We generally find our jobs hard, stressful and demanding. Same goes with most relationships at work, both with bosses as well as with peers. There is a lot of insecurity, anxiety and fear that continues through the day and is taken home. According to recent research in the United States, working professionals who work late (and hardly see their children) do far less damage than professionals who come home angry or stressed, and pass it on to their children. It is because our schools did not help us connect with things we were naturally good at, or apply our knowledge towards finding new and better ways of doing things or train us to be creative and resilient problem solvers, are the main reasons that we struggle today. How can we work well with others when all our school every taught us was to work individually? We can’t collaborate if all we ever did was to compete. Our teachers were generally uninspiring and strict, thereby having a similar impact on us. There is a strong correlation between the uninspiring and strict boss and our teacher.
Jobs like Data Mining Scientists, Social media psychologists, Qualitative researchers, 3D modellers, Digital marketers, etc did not exist earlier, but now they are some of the most sought after jobs in the world. If our school system fails to catch up with the demands of the outside world, then there will be a huge gap between the skills required by the markets, and skills provided to them. There, already is a huge gap. The only way to build this gap is to introduce skill building courses in the formative stages of the kids, which only very few schools are doing.
As education moves beyond books, and turns into a truly global phenomenon, more and more schools need to break free from the old ways of doing things, and instead imbibe newer ideas and techniques.
At Vega schools, we play our part. We base our teaching and learning on a well researched, proven and real world practice known as problem based learning. Children, right from the age of three learn by applying knowledge and by solving real world problems. They work at school exactly how they would work in the real world. A world that will be vastly different to the one in which we live in today.
Parents need to play their part. They need to ensure their children experience a much higher and deeper level of learning. To give their children what they didn’t have, so that their children live far more enriching and successful lives.