PREPARING TODAY FOR TOMORROW’S WORLD
FROM THE CEO
We are at the beginning of a revolution that is fundamentally changing the way we live, work and relate to one another, The Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Prior to the nineteenth century, systematic investment in human capital was not considered especially important in any country. Expenditures on schooling, on-the-job training, and other similar forms of investment were quite small. This began to change radically during this century, as education, skills, and the acquisition of knowledge have become crucial determinants of a person’s and a nation’s productivity.
The industrial age taught us how to educate second-class robots, people who learn in standardized settings and become good at repeating what we tell them. In this age of accelerations, we need to think harder about what makes us first class humans, how we complement, not substitute, the artificial intelligence we have created in our computers, and how we build a culture that facilitates learning, unlearning and re-learning throughout life. The new generation of citizens require not just strong academic skills, but also curiosity, imagination, empathy, entrepreneurship and resilience.
Never before has effective career guidance been so important and never before has there been a greater onus on industries, especially the private sector, to step up and replicate positive benefits linked to first-hand exposure to the working world through programs of career development activities, providing the necessary platforms to help young children reflect on who they are, and to think critically about the relationships between their educational choices and future economic life.
We owe it to our children to ensure that they go through education blind, neither to the opportunities offered by the working world nor to its potential pitfalls. We owe it to our children to ensure that effective education systems will go beyond traditional teaching techniques that will provide learners with knowledge relevant to career development.
ALIYU ALIYU, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
WITH EMPHASIS ON OUR PERSPECTIVE
Whether in a building or in an individual, the importance of a solid foundation cannot be over emphasized, as this lays the basis and sets the tone for the future. Studies have shown that aspirations are important, but also emphasized how the “early years of a child’s life are a key time in their formation and development” (Gutman & Akerman 2008). Introducing children to the world of work and learning about future jobs and careers in primary education is a resource which needs to be harnessed in the development of knowledge and skills and applied as a mechanism to influence the aspirations of children.
Across the world, young people who leave education today are, on average, more highly qualified than any preceding generation in history. They often enter the working world with considerably more years of schooling than their parents or grandparents. This is an enormous achievement of which the global education community can be truly proud. And yet, in spite of completing an unprecedented number of years of formal education, young people continue to struggle in the job market, and governments continue to worry about the mismatch between what societies and economies demand and education systems supply.
It is to this end that we must strive to:
Rethink the Education Model
The coexistence of unemployed university graduates and employers who say they cannot find people with the skills they need, shows that more education does not automatically mean better jobs and better lives. For many young people, academic success alone has proven an insufficient means of ensuring a smooth transition into the world of work.
Every day, teenagers make important decisions that are relevant to their future. The time and energy they dedicate to learning and the fields of study where they place their greatest efforts profoundly shape the opportunities they will have throughout their lives. A key source of motivation for students to study hard is to realize their dreams for work and life. Those dreams and aspirations, in turn, do not just depend on talents, but they can be hugely influenced by their personal background, families, as well as by the depth and breadth of their knowledge about the world of work.
In Nigeria today, it is easy to see why children choose occupations that they are more exposed to or occupations that society deems prestigious and offers financial success such as Engineering, Medicine and Law. Today’s young people must make more decisions about what, where and how hard they will study, and good schools and industries will respond by empowering them to become critical thinkers.
Make a Difference
The idea of empowering the whole person for the whole world is gaining momentum rapidly. But it requires complex change on a massive scale. It requires transforming existing education systems into new “learning ecosystems”—dynamic networks of educators and others who influence the experience of young people, working together to ensure that every child develops the knowledge, skills, and inclinations that are prerequisites to creating a better world.
Transforming education systems must begin with us. We cannot create learning ecosystems if we are not modeling them ourselves. That is why our (Bilaad Realty’s) “For kids” approach to change involves organizing communities of Industry Leaders into self-led teams that, like the learning ecosystems we want to create, plan systemically, communicate, learn, and expose children to the unspoken career choices that exists, distributing leadership of system change widely.