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The G Trends to consider in education

Education has been getting a lot of criticism for not fulfilling its purpose. Some even claiming, that schools are not preparing our children to the world of work and are ‘being out of touch of industry and skills demand’.

For education to fulfil its mission, I believe we need to look ahead at trends and respond to the skills and talent required. Keep renovating our curriculum and incorporate soft skills and mental coping tools.

I’ve categorized Some of the trends to consider in education policies and curriculum to the five Gs:

  1. Green economy
  2. Gender
  3. Generation (technology progress)
  4. Gaming
  5. Hygiene physical and mental

Lockdown and work from a home situation caused a significant reduction in usage of transportation and the plummet in petrol prices. This raised the awareness of the Green economy.

According to the Economist, (September 2020), a return to the “old world” post covid19 is unlikely. ‘Power in the 21st Century’ article, claims that as the public, governments and investors wake up to climate change, the clean – energy industry is gaining momentum.  As an overview of the new energy system emerges, we have to examine the implications of education and skills development. Taking into consideration, professions related to renewable energy, such as solar and wind power.

In the ORT network, there are schools which incorporate programmes preparing youth towards this transformation. For example, Lyce’e ORT Strasbourg, offers a course to ensure students develop skills in analyzing and creating technical solutions to deal with issues related to energy, the energy efficiency of systems and their effect on the environment.

Gender biases and inequality have been brought into public attention in various ways, most recently with the #metoo movement.

An interesting finding by NICD-CRAM,(panel survey of South Africans tracking the impact of COVID-19), showed that women were disproportionally affected by the Covid19 crisis. They were more likely than men to lose their jobs, as well as taking a greater share of the additional child care as a result of school closure due to lockdown.

Over the years data has shown that globally, women are paid relatively less than men. I believe that to alter this inequality, we need to consider our curriculum and ways to raise awareness amongst our youth, from earlier on in their schools and career path. At ORT SA, we run coding programmes promoting female participation and raising awareness to IT professions not “only as a profession for male”.

The progress of technology and 5G brought up the advance in generation technologies widening the digital gap even further.
How far technology can take us, can be left to our imagination and the innovators and dreamers amongst us. The more technology evolves, the more the gap between disadvantaged communities to more privileged ones expands. With poor infrastructure, lack of resources and lack of knowledge contributing to this growing gap. 

ORT2Connect campaign calls on people to donate their second hand, unused devices to communities in need.

The ORT Digital Ready for work programme aims to equip the unemployed youth with digital skills required for the digitized workplace. Starting with digital skills (including collaboration skills) from an early stage at school will ensure the youth is equipped with and ready for the ever-changing world of jobs.

Global shutdown and people staying at hone increased the gaming industry. Some say that ‘The Games industry is now bigger than the movie industry worldwide’.  

The available jobs in this industry require various professions; Game designers, animators, writers, video game testers, software developers, computer programmers, audio engineer’s interpreters and translators as well as a technical support specialist. Research shows that to get youth into these professions an early intervention and education needs to be incorporated from an early stage.

Upskilling youth from schooling level, one can ensure that these youth will have a high likelihood of being employable. Online gaming is not for entertainment solely and can be used for educational purposes, gamification in the workplace and social change.

The pandemic has impacted the way we watch our hygiene behavior. In education, the focus has been on physical hygiene, ensuring kids adhere to washing their hands and keeping to healthy manners.

However, increasingly, we realize the importance of keeping checks with the kids’ mental health.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, more than 25% of teens ages 13-18 will experience any anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. This seems to be a global phenomenon and the importance of mental health and wellbeing in schools is moreover about developing coping strategies and providing tools.

COVID-19 has been a trigger to transformation in different sectors and industries. The education and skills development sector need to have a discussion on how we adapt and transform the offering so not to become redundant and affronted.