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16Jul 2018

Rethink Education - Schooling for Tomorrow

Posted by : Mradula Singh
Category : Founders Desk
Date :

Why do we need to rethink how we educate kids to tackle the jobs of the future? There is disruption & revolution in the way we work, travel, transact or educate; get influenced not by Television and print media but the combination of gadgets, gizmos, by billions of people who have a voice now. 

Then why aren't we re-thinking how we educate our children to tackle the jobs of the future. The key today is not degrees and marks, it is skill, re-skill and re-skill again and again in life. The study by Oxford concluded that nearly half of the jobs which existed today will be automated in next the 20 years and future of jobs is unpredictable and unquantifiable. Preparing children in the core skill set will be the success of their future. Replace the existing education system by fostering skill like teamwork, communication and exploration.  Replace independent achievement; build strong emotional intelligence, replace age and grade-milestones of success with adaption, handling failures and bouncing back in life.

Make no mistake future jobs will require human collaborating with humans to design work for machines, therefore, it is time to re-think how we take tests? The present system of “come prepared from home write on paper the memorised data” and facts and be accountable for achievements on our own merits.

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Shift focus from Cognitive Skills to Social Skills

Clearly, the values have to be shifted from cognitive skills to social skills which is why our focus should be in recess in schools and long breaks in between. Unfortunately, very few schools have adopted and most are unaware of the value of social interaction and play.

Look around for problems and find solutions

Community building and voluntary work in schools can pave the way to small solutions to problems existing around us. This will lead to an important life skill of “we and us as a community”, and a sense of belonging to the neighbourhood, city, and country. One such solution for garbage dumping at public places prevalent in Pune is tackled by mobile app solution by Adar Punawalla ‘s initiative for clean city initiative.

Replace school's attitudes to “Get Grades”

Because a school is competitive a sense of failure overwhelms the students. The goal of our school is to get grades that are good enough not to hurt one’s future. This attitude is inimical to learning and is the product of competitive nature of schools and education in our country. If students pursue learning on their own they will not feel the sense of failure when everyone is supposed to learn the same thing at the same time.

NexSchools has been running a campaign “ We Don’t Have Education System, We Have Examination System” to re-think education, at least discuss and debate and spark a conversation the world needs to change.

Focusing on learning patterns rather than numbers

The most dreaded mathematical tables, long divisions have been a bane for every student. So now if a child asks why can’t I use a calculator then why not in higher grades? The emphasis should be building permanent mark with patterns and understanding. The power of exploration and adaptability are the skills that will prepare children for the future which is unpredictable for us as well.

The most talked about advanced technology IBM’s Watson which has been applied to the fields as diverse as medicine, finance and even music could also be worked with great communication, team work. More than technical skills this requires computer scientists to work in various fields effectively.

Shift base to exploring things rather than knowing things

Much of the information we have in our textbooks today will be obsolete by the time children are ready for their careers. Just knowing dates, formulae will not work the shift should be what could be extracted from data.

The future lies in advances in fields related to Machine Learning(ML), including Data Mining, Machine Vision, Computational Statistics and other sub-fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI). In simpler words, the future will lie in the development of a set of procedure or algorithms that allow the cognitive task to be automated.

Let us see some real examples of how solutions will have amalgamation and convergence of skills and knowledge that will be implemented in real jobs which will also add value as to why we must invest in skills and skills and adapt to learn and learn to adapt.

“With the convergence of medicine, artificial intelligence and sensors, we can create digital doctors that monitor our health and help us prevent disease; with the advances in genomics and gene editing, we have the ability to create plants that are drought resistant and that feed the planet; with robots powered by artificial intelligence, we can build digital companions for the elderly. Nanomaterial advances are enabling a new generation of solar and storage technologies that will make energy affordable and available to all.” Vivek Wadhwa Professor at Carnegie Mellon University Engineering and director of research at Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke.

To work and find solutions in these fields require knowledge of biology, health science, education and human behaviour. Today’s world has many social and technological challenges that definitely require critical thinking and human touch to see, understand these and the key to innovation and jobs lie in these fields so is the success of education system.

Today most professions point to dramatic changes in the way they worked, thanks to technological innovation. But education still looked the awful lot same the way I was educated more than two decades ago.  There are changes in education but they are incredibly slow.

We will have to start thinking of the future of our schools from today within the present school system. Innovation will have to make ways within our traditional set-up. No more, teacher-led classrooms will help succeed our children. We have to prepare to strengthen the roots of education and teachers will be the focal point. We will be doing most basic work with technology and maybe robots will take away some spaces in our daily lives in the next two years by 2020 but it doesn’t mean classroom will have teacher-avatars and tests will be given via drones.

The human factor is always important.

We are inviting leading thinkers to reflect on practices and future of education thinking. Contributions are invited for evidence-based approaches, potential fresh ideas and plans that can shape K12 education to face future challenges.


The study by Oxford-  Future of Employment

Vivek Wadhwa - Professor at Carnegie Mellon University Engineering and director of research at Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke.

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Mradula Singh

She knows the value of bringing technology to connect education fraternity and has taken a different route to bring awesomeness in education and parenting by starting NexSchools- an education resource and media platform.

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