Corporate companies have fastened their seatbelts as the world is sprinting into the Fourth Industrial Revolution but are the education sector prepared for this big change? It is high time that schools, educators, and parents provide an educational setup that enables the next generation to benefit from the opportunities this technological change is bringing.
The demands of the future workforce are such that it is crucial for students to be equipped with 21st century technological skills. The current education system has been often accused of leaving students ill-prepared for the technologically advanced world they have to face. But all is not lost because by adopting an international curriculum such as International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) or Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), some schools are preparing their students for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Most schools in India have based their curriculum around the belief that students need to be prepared to take on the tasks of a discipline and do “something”. But the students enrolled in IGCSE and IBDP are being taught with another goal- to develop their skill set in a way that they can do “anything”.
While most schools already give importance to STEM (science, tech, engineering, and math) education, they sometimes may not be able to provide a wide horizon to the learners to test the applied version of STEM education. But the ‘learning while doing’ approach of IGCSE and IBDP students keeps them one step ahead of others. At the same time, it is important to note that while technical skills are important, employees with critical thinking and collaboration skills are preferred. Schools adopting the IGCSE curriculum give their students the opportunity to learn everything and turn out to be well-rounded citizens.
American philosopher John Dewey once said, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.” When the course material is changing, then why is the way it is being taught, not changing? Students of IGCSE and IBDP stand apart from the crowd because their educators are not simply distilling information, but are acting as a guide for the students to facilitate their learning.
Students are not ready to inherit a world where technology rules everything unless they’ve had a platform to practise their inquisitiveness, iterations of failures, and problem-solving skills. By providing a learning environment that allows the students to be creators using physical and digital tools, schools can equip students with a love for learning. Schools that are adopting an international curriculum, also provide a makerspace, where students can work on a project and make sense of their world through hands-on experience.
With technology bringing our world closer, future employees will need a global mindset to excel in their careers. Inculcating this habit early on will be helpful to them when they go out in the world to make a name for themselves. With an international curriculum, students of IGCSE and IBDP are being taught subjects from an international perspective and are being introduced to many different languages, making them internationally mindful.
With technology becoming an integral part of our life, it is bound to change the world as we know it. New technologies are taking over the work that was previously done by people. But at the same time, reports suggest that data science will create roughly 11.5 million job openings by 2026. This huge growth will be largely dependent on technological upgrades like AI and Robotic Process Automation. The education sector will have to make changes to meet the needs of Industry 4.0 and switching to an international curriculum is the first step in that direction.