Children today are studying a curriculum which may not be futureproof. In this month’s Ilm o Amal, TRC staff takes a look at the very different lives children in the future will be living, with increased likelihood of career changes and a variety of life paths.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has said that in future more than half of the people who are young today will have jobs that haven’t been created yet. We simply cannot foresee what the job landscape of tomorrow will look like. The challenge for us as teachers is to prepare children to work in a world which we cannot predict.

Lifestyles are changing rapidly and children born these days are getting better healthcare and are likely to live much longer. Their retirement age is likely to increase and impact their career choices. To deal with this changing scenario here are 4 things teachers should be teaching children.

1. Adaptability
Children of today will need to be adaptable in the future world of work. Unlike the stereotypical worker in a factory who performs the same duty over and over, young children today will probably grow up to take on a myriad of different roles in various companies and also change job roles in the same company. In addition, changes in technology will probably ensure that their roles will change frequently regardless of any action they take. The children of today will be required to evolve to suit their roles. From writing a work policy to managing a project, the future worker will be required to adapt and take on new roles as and when required.

We see aspects of adaptability in our own lives as well. As teachers we are adaptable creatures. From planning field trips to building the class library, we are required to plan and implement in a changing landscape and this is something we should be modeling and passing on to our students.

2. People skills
EQ (emotional quotient) is the new IQ. A lot of workplaces are realizing that your academic qualifications matter, but your people skills matter more. A child who is not performing according to expected levels in her grade, will go far if she has people skills. If she is empathetic, kind and good at mediating between fighting friends, she will likely be very employable, compared to someone who performs well, but is aloof and finds it difficult to connect to others.

3. Life skills
Ask your students about the cost of a motorbike, car or a house and they probably have no idea. While we don’t need to discuss everything with children, tomorrow’s generation needs to be more aware, especially about money.

Also a lot of children today are used to a very comfortable life. Things like online shopping are becoming the norm and children have become used to instant gratification. A lot of children do not realize that parents have to make an effort to ensure that their children have what they need.

In the new world there will likely be no ‘girl’ and ‘boy’ jobs. Jobs will be jobs and equality in the true sense will be the norm. Both boys and girls should be ready to be engineers and also stay-at-home parents. Our children should also be ready to accept working alongside with people of different nationalities, cultures and religions.

4. Communication
Mobile phones and social media continue to change the way we work. They have enabled us to interview people over Skype or Zoom and are also allowing us to work remotely. Social media and mobile phones are a high priority in terms of future skills that young people need. Unfortunately we don’t see these in use in the classroom or in schools.

Like everything else, technology has its drawbacks. While we can do nothing about the technology that has infiltrated our life, we can teach children to stay on top of these new methods of communication and be tech savvy. We can also teach children to be respectful and cautious online, and to understand that educational institutions and employers will be checking their social media pages before interviewing them.

The kind of skills and topics students of today will need will also have to change in order to prepare them for future careers. Thus providing the children of today a relevant education will become all the more important.

September 2018