Are Todays Education Systems Ready for Tomorrow?
Ever Changing Employment Landscape
Times are changing fast. We discussed the nature of change in our previous blog – Tomorrow that starts Today. We have deduced that machines would take over more than 30% of human jobs in as soon as 5-10 years. This shift towards automation does not mean that our children will lose all jobs to machines. This only means that our children will face different jobs and business opportunities than the working class of today. This change in skills is not a new phenomenon. It is just that the speed of this phenomenon has accelerated rapidly over the last two decades. What started as an internet revolution has now transformed into a full scale automation revolution. As of today, the demand for talent in AI, digital, and machine learning is way more than the supply of these skills which has pushed salaries higher in these areas. There is a gap in the supply of these skills because we did not foresee the demand for these skills ahead of time. The present-day education systems are simply not forward looking, yet.
Archaic Education System
While the employment landscape is changing each day, schools on the other hand are institutions that were formed in the 19th century, employ teachers from the 20th century and cover a curriculum that was created at least 50 years ago. It is, therefore, no surprise that there is a big gap in what is taught in school vs what is needed in real life. While number of Education Institutions have risen, on an average by more than 100% across all streams of education, unemployment rates are the highest they have ever been in the last 20 years especially among the educated youth in India. The gap between skills needed vs skills taught is widening because schools are unable to change at the speed of change that the world is undergoing. This challenge is not only present in Asia but also across most developed countries in Americas, Europe and even Australia. Very few countries like Finland, Singapore and South Korea have managed to create education systems which create children which are future ready.
What needs to change
So, what are the above countries doing differently? Some of the factors contributing for successful education systems are late school starting age, zero homework, extremely well qualified teachers and a deep-rooted focus on collaboration than competition. In addition to what is already being done in these new age school, Educators of today need to:
- get rid of focus on rote learning
- give way for practical, hands on learning and related evaluation
- create platforms such that the genius within each child can blossom
- not only teach “what is”, but also “what could be”
The good news is that Governments across the world, including India, are working on revising their education systems. However, given the complexity, breadth and depth of such systems, the change is going to be slow to come by. As educated parents, it is, therefore, our responsibility to create the right academic environment for our children. An environment in which they perform well today and are more importantly ready for the future. Through this series of blogs, I hope to demystify the world of education for parents/care givers and help them objectively plan for their children’s future. In the next blogs, I will talk about future workplaces and the skills our children will need for the same. I will also talk about how parents can help their children get there. Stay tuned to the blog and share it with other parents who you think will benefit from it.