Imagine your child 15-20 years from now.
Your child has excelled in their pre-university course with flying colours, and they have been accepted into their dream university! They are going to fly there in one month.
In Malaysia, you two scoop out rental spaces around the university online, arrange visas and buy all the winter clothes your child needs.
When your plane land, you and your child buy all the things your child needs, and remind them of all the household tips and tricks you’ve learnt. Along the way, you go sightseeing and get some souvenirs for yourself (and your extended family).
When your child has settled into their dorm, you say your goodbyes and embrace your child, knowing that this will be the last time in a long while.
And that’s it! You have prepared your child for the next stage of their life. Back in Malaysia, you collapse in your bed after a long flight back and a long car trip from the airport.
A phone call rings.
Excited, you pick it up:
Why can’t my child cook rice?
It’s okay. Many children can’t cook rice, even as young adults.
Some families invite their children into the kitchen to help with chores; other parents don’t so that their children can focus on their studies.
Each child has their own unique set of academic and life skills.
While it may be a bit embarrassing to not know how to cook your own rice, it’s a minor problem that can be fixed.
These concerns don’t come from any fault of the students, their parents or their schools.
The knowledge we gain from the Cambridge syllabus, Malaysia’s national curriculum or any other education curriculums are valuable in our daily lives.
However, the focus on knowledge and theory alone is not sufficient enough to prepare us for reality.
To be ready for 2022 and beyond, we need to learn beyond our IQ capabilities.
Mainstream schooling was designed to focus on IQ alone because when it was first practised during the Industrial Revolution, there were high demands for thousands of factory workers.
That’s why in schools today, students are trained to memorise facts and are tested regularly.
But since the beginning of the 2000s, digital technology and artificial intelligence (AI) fulfil many roles in our society, including memorisation of large data, and standardisation of mass production.
So does this mean our schooling systems have become useless?
No, but they are failing to meet the requirements of our world today.
So what do I need to do to prepare my child for the changes in the 21st century?
Change is scary, but it is not a problem.
According to that same report by the World Economic Forum:
We can’t say with 100% certainty what skills your child will absolutely need by the time they graduate.
Society changes over time – sometimes drastically as the pandemic has taught us.
Often, we have to play by ear adapt to the changing circumstances.
Take note that more people recognise how important it is for them to gain technological skills after the pandemic. As a result, these numbers may have increased.
While it can be hard to predict the future, our current marketing trends, global initiatives and our own lives can give us an excellent blueprint to help us prepare for reality.
First off: Education should prepare our children for their future jobs.
The purpose of education is to prepare children for life. Therefore, it should equip students with the necessary skills to perform basic jobs as demanded in the market.
In today’s context, students need skills that give a competitive advantage against machinery to provide long term value. So while we can’t beat gadgets as masters of IQ, we can master other ways of thinking to make up for a computer’s weaknesses.
Therefore, your child will need:
This combination is critical to unleashing your child’s potential.
Creativity is also a skill that computers cannot conceive; it is a skill that your child can master.
Cultivating your child’s creativity and emotional intelligence falls in line with UNESCO’s plans for education.
In their document “Education in a post-COVID world: nine ideas for public action”, UNESCO outlines 2 core purposes to education:
- Education should develop a strong base of knowledge about oneself and the world.
- Education should be integrated and based on themes and problems that allow us to live in peace with our common humanity and shared planet.
Holistic education gives your child the opportunity to understand who they are for themselves: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and more.
Because holistic learning requires self-driven learning, your child would better understand the world around them, how it relates to themselves and how they can make real change in their communities.
Currently, some innovative schools like Tree Top International School can help your child gain a more holistic self-driven learning experience.
However, it will take some time for this new approach to become mainstream