Imagine if Aristotle were alive today, he would be mystified by what he sees. People walking around talking to small rectangular devices pressed to their ears. In a classroom, he would see whiteboards, projectors, and computers. He was a famous Greek philosopher who taught Alexander the Great circa 300BC.
Are our schools and education system malfunctioning in the 21st century? Not really, considering we do have computers and projectors. Besides that, we have to contend with a major and relentless pandemic. Regardless, education has to change to meet the challenges of today. There should be functionality, more value, and substance in education. Language plays a significant role in education and it’s a no-brainer to use the lingua franca of today. Educators themselves have to be well equipped and up-to-date with today’s knowledge. It’s not all about scoring “A’s” or schools achieving a higher percentage of passes. It’s about the ability of students to contribute and function in society in the 21st century. Today’s environment demand a high level of competency skills. We need to understand different cultures and be empathic as we deal with more people from across the globe in this digital age. Ancient methods and thinking will not work if we desire to be successful.
CURRICULUM AND SYLLABUS
We are all global citizens, thanks to the internet. Students were more informed and up-to-date back in the day which was more than five decades ago. Somehow, it all changed. Learners today have to be globally literate and sensitive to foreign cultures. Teachers and educators need to create a sustainable and engaging online learning experience for students. Key current affairs like global warming, science, and technology should be inculcated. If possible, make opportunities for students to examine what and why they are learning and empower them to make their own choices in the process. It’s actually a mental exercise that allows them to think and not just listen and memorize chunks of information to pass examinations.
The internet has revolutionized the way we live. Before the internet, we had immense and expensive volumes of encyclopedias that cluttered the room which only the rich could afford. Learners of today have the internet but apparently, they remain deficient in knowledge. Students and educators have to think outside the box. They have to be adaptable and overcome existing circumstances.
They also have to develop communication skills, emotional intelligence, and distinguish fake and legitimate information because we work in a different environment today.
Most students are unhappy with online lessons due to the lack of interaction. Eventually, they have to adapt and overcome their dissatisfaction because it’s the future of education. Teachers and students have to shift to online classes until restrictions have been removed. Allow students to have short breaks in between distance learning lessons to avoid screen time fatigue. Changes and habits are mostly difficult and unacceptable by nature. People will be angry, frustrated, and recalcitrant.
THE RIGHT BALANCE IN EDUCATION
We may be criticized for knowing irrelevant information which will never make us rich and famous. However, knowledge is precious and something that no one can take away from us. It may not be useful now, but it will come in handy in future. We never really use what we learn in school but it’s actually about the concept of memory, updating, practicing discipline, intelligence, and understanding. It’s the fundamental basis of math, science, information technology, and much more which is applicable in our daily lives. Most analysts believe that Belgium and Singapore have the right balance in education. Exams are important for evaluation but not necessarily useful. They have to be restructured for survival in today’s environment. The time for a paradigm shift is long overdue. Language, Information Technology, Culture, Science, and Competency Skills need serious attention.
Chuck is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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