We need to find an effective balance between the traditional education curriculum, the demands of our economy and our society.
I see little evidence that the curricula are moving with the times. Relevant work skills are largely ignored or communicated as a by-product in courses but these are critical to developing a successful and fulfilling career. Surely these skills should be an integral part of any syllabus.
Narrow metrics of intelligence have little use in our working lives. No matter how intelligent you are, if you do not have the basic skill to engage and communicate, as well as being able to use the standard ‘tools of the trade’ (for example, Powerpoint, Excel, Word and their open source equivalents), this will have a massive impact on what you will achieve in your career.
‘Effective Communications’ should be a core element in the curricula, along with a full mature Enterprise syllabus that is supported fully by school and education bodies. Much more useful work could be done immediately by adding Enterprise elements to existing subjects.
Existing courses could be readily adjusted to include these essential skills. For example, Maths and IT could be more case-study based and be more practical in the way formulae and course work is presented, reflecting skills such as budgeting, presentations, cash flow, planning project management and so on. There are a growing number of excellent online business simulation platforms that could be used or adapted to introduce exciting, challenging and relevant learning into the curricula.
My view is that once again there seems to be a half-hearted attempt to address this; worse still, this has been foisted on schools with little liaison and ‘buy in’.
In my opinion, there needs to be a deep and considered re-evaluation of the current curricula that involves schools, heads of departments, FE and HE representatives, UK industry, public sector, parental and learner input.
While I do not subscribe to the narrow view that all post-school education institutions should be “jobs mills”, an integrated education strategy should link the reformed school curricula with FE and HE courses.
Deeper engagement with industry and public sector would provide a vital channel for feedback on how college and university courses can better support students, who would pick up entrepreneurial and enterprise skills, allowing them to ‘hit the ground running’ in work.
Employers are, by nature, hard task masters and the sustained view from them over the past 15 years, at least, is that our young people are inadequately equipped to thrive when they arrive at the workplace.
Education bodies do need to take notice of that view and ensure there is also a closer match between ‘supply and demand’ - providing relevant courses that give students the appropriate skills to succeed in their chosen profession. We’ve been working at WYGU the past two years to provide an online platform that supports this ‘intelligent economy’. Much more needs to be done before we can match the needs and dreams of our young people with the needs and wants of our economy.Back To Top
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