– Mukesh Sharma, Chairman and Director, Prometheus School, Noida
Technology is disrupting the very way we live and the transformation is so rapid and pervasive that it has touched every sphere of life. Technology is swiftly making people intensive jobs and industries redundant and the entire ecosystem is changing and evolving. As educators, we often wonder how education for the 21st century learner must be. Our generation (Baby boomers and Gen X) lived in far simpler times, our education prepared us for the world we were going to inherit, but the same is not true for Gen Z. Chances are that they will do jobs that don’t exist today. So this predicament begs the question – what should schools prepare them for? The answer lies in skill acquisition; these young learners need to learn the skills of change management, self-management and other life skills to navigate the uncertainties of the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world.
Dealing with disappointments – No one has lived and not faced disappointments, be it in personal life or professional life. It is our response to these disappointments that decide the next course; we could choose to learn from them or wallow in them. No one talks about it, but it is a much-needed skill. Fail-learn, course correct-grow.
Critical thinking – We all look at the world and make sense of this world as per our perceptions and thinking capacities and in order for us to view the world from a different perspective, we need to develop critical thinking ability in the next generation. Everyone saw the apple fall but it took a different perspective to speculate upon the nature of gravity.
Collaboration – It is easy to work in isolation but the real magic happens when people learn to collaborate and ideate together. Team work means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, because when “team think” and “team effort” happens effectively, the way the ideas blend adds a different quality to the outcome. In workplaces today, the challenge is that there are many individual players but only a few team players.
Creative thinking – Can’t emphasise this one enough; the world needs creative thinkers who can solve the problems of the world. The world is littered with people who know how to reproduce what already exists. We need more people who can generate original ideas and help the inhabitants of this planet.
Courage – Life shrinks and expands in direct proportion to our courage. Maya Angelou says and I repeat “Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” We need to teach our children to be bold and courageous and to go out there and have audacious goals. Nothing of any significance is created from comfort zones. Children need to be taught to take risks and learn from them be it physical, social, or experimental risks in life.
Resilience – Of course giving up is easy, path of least resistance is easy but not much is accomplished when one takes the easy route. Children should be taught to have a goal, work on it, fail at it and try again. Treat failures as springboard for success and not as a stigma you need to carry for the rest of your life. Fail early and learn quick should be the mantra.
At Prometheus we are committed to creating a future generation that is emotionally secure, creatively engaged, sensitised to global issues, compassionate, resilient and lifelong learners who understand that this planet is a shared responsibility and they have a steadfast commitment to not only realising their potential but also making this world a better place. Let us encourage all children to embrace the exciting and uncertain future with its endless possibilities, with courage and determination.