It comes as no shock that the present day and age demand for a revamping of the age old curriculum educational institutions have been following. This is especially true in the wake of the pandemic of 2020. Students in high school and colleges are looking forward to a different set of skills to learn that are more future ready.
The focus is increasingly spreading to adopting a more practical approach in education. The idea is to make the learners employable and job ready. Therefore, a wave has begun aiming to build education 2.0, which will have a fresh perspective and approach to it. Among the various streams of thought that have come to the forefront, some strong curriculum changes are common to all-
To begin with, the new curriculum needs to encompass training in skills that can help students internships and jobs. The stress of the present curriculum entirely on theoretical learning needs to be reversed. This means that more practical learning and training needs to be the focus. Employable skills like planning and organization, critical thinking, self management and others need to be a part of the curriculum.
Additionally, there should be a focus on practical training. This can be through real life experiences to make the whole learning journey more robust. Soft skills like public speaking, team work, etc need to be inculcated through different activities and exercises. In a nutshell, the focus need to move from theoretical training of conventional skills to a more practical and pragmatic training of employable skills.
While the first curriculum change talks majorly about relevant technical and hard skills training, there is also a need to make empathy building a part of the curriculum. Empathy, or the ability to put oneself in the shoes of others, is one of the most important skills that individuals require to be future ready. Multiple studies have shown that lack of empathy is one of the leading problems that organizations report as a deterrent to an individual’s professional growth.
Students are seldom given knowledge about the need to be empathetic. However, they receive penalization for lack of empathy in their professional life. Therefore, there is an urgent need to bridge this empathy gap. The idea is to make sure that students out of college and school are empathetic and sensitive towards others. The only way this can be done is to make mindfulness and empathy skills training a part of the educational curriculum and start building it from bottom up.
Like empathy, students that come out of the conventional education system have very poor social skills. The uncompromising stress of the education system on getting good grades in traditional subjects leads to the social skills training taking a back seat. This means that while students with high grades have strong conceptual knowledge, they are unable to socialize when they entire the working world. This invariably puts them at a position of disadvantage as they are unable to communicate properly to grow their network.
Thus, the educational curriculum needs to stress more on building social skills. These include communication, public speaking, peer networking, etc, if it actually aspires to be future ready. Unless, there is focus on these skills, development of holistic individuals is a distant dream.
Post social skills, there is also a need to incorporate environmental awareness into the academic curriculum. This can be through interesting and effective interventions. It is a well acknowledged fact that the world is in a state of crisis from an environmental standpoint. Unless, the future generation is enough aware and sensitive towards the approaching dangers to the entire human race, their survival is threatened.
This simply translates to the need for educational institutions to add a full fledged lesson plan on the state of environmental degradation today. Additionally, lessons should be there on the potential solutions to prevent further deterioration. While the impact will be miniscule to start with, incorporation of environmental awareness as a part of education curriculum will at least be a beginning.
Next in line comes the need to effectively incorporate the technological advances into the education curriculum. Everyone today accepts that the advent of edtech is making education more accessible and robust. However, the existing format of isolation between e-learning and conventional education modules is self defeating.
There is a need for curriculum builders to marry the two to facilitate them to work in tandem. This suggests that variety of conventional modules should undergo digitization to become more accessible. The idea is not to completely replace classroom learning with e-learning. Rather to leverage the potential of both to entail effective knowledge sharing.
Extra Curricular Activities
Finally, there is an urgent need to shift the focus from only academic achievements to acknowledging the importance of extra curricular activities as well. Invariably, educationists as well as parents tend to judge students solely on the grades they receive. They do not acknowledge their co curricular pursuits. While there is no denying that academic performance plays an important role in the professional journey of an individual, however, refuting the contribution of other activities is unjust.
Education curriculums need to assign and allot more time for extracurricular activities. They need to have similar weightage as academic disciplines. Unless such a situation comes through, the all-around development of a student cannot be achieved.
Education is the Key
To cut a long story short, there is no doubt that the world is changing with the speed of light. Unless the education system and curriculum keep up with it, they will be unable to nurture and prepare individuals ready to face the world. Therefore, education 2.0 need to focus on skills and aspects which have been neglected by the conventional system till date. Only when the curriculum covers all aspects of learning, training and development, can we expect future ready individuals.