The future of our children rests on the availability of a good educational structure; to make them ready for a whole new digital world that we as parents never encountered. At our 7th Annual Parenting Conference, held on 10th, October 2020, our panelists discussed education; and how our children need a different type of education to be their best in the future.
The panel discussion featured three of our speakers, in persons of Mr. Orondaam Otto, Founder/Executive Director of Slum2School Africa; Dr. Abimbola Ogundere, Director of The Kid’s Court School, and; Mrs. Abiola Seriki-Ayeni, the Director-General, Office of Education Quality Assurance of Lagos State. They all gave their insight into what our future is about and what they need to grow in this new world compared to the former generation. Here are their highlights from the conference on the topic.
Dr Abimbola Ogundere
Dr. Abimbola says that in this changing face of education, she believes the COVID-19 pandemic has ‘thrown’ us into the Fourth Industrial Revolution; she said the educational sector has been steered in this direction and has also given education a huge push. And on one hand, it has created a pause in motion; to enable us to examine the quality of education provision available to students; while also opening our eyes to the immense possibilities with regards to what education provision can/should naturally be or become. She said [Tweet “the pandemic has highlighted the unpreparedness of many countries, including Nigeria, unfortunately; to provide the type of education the learners need to thrive in the 21st century.”]
She says that many questions with regards to education provision have come to the discussion table, such as; Must learning take place in schools? must learners attend school every day? What exactly are the roles of schools and schooling? What are children supposed to learn to thrive in this new world? The type of education do they need to be successful in the 21st century? etc.
Adaptation of Teachers
She lauded the flexibility and adaptability of teachers and education service providers in the face of the pandemic. Commending how teachers acquire new skills needed to teach remotely and learning new approaches. She says that for the first time in decades, teachers are allowing themselves to shake off the dust from the past and begin to reimagine the future. Leadership innovation, creativity, and collaboration have begun to characterize the education sector. And also believes the public’s perception of teachers and professionals has also been influenced positively because for once the society, being forced to take some of their children came face to face with the reality of the work teachers do.
And she said there has also been a proliferation of Edtech companies and the importance of technology in education provision has become undeniable and the growth and adoption of technology is fast increasing. The fourth industrial revolution will transform the way we live and the way we work.
Developing Successul Children
She said from her perspective, to be successful the children need to be intentionally empowered; with the knowledge and skills that are transferable coupled with great attitude and character. If the pandemic has taught anything, it’s that what worked before is not going to work now. This powerful combination of transferable skills and grit attitude will ensure that wherever they are, whatever technical skills they decide to learn, because of the profession you choose, they will become valuable to themselves, their families, and contributing members of society.
Mrs Abiola Seriki-Ayeni
She said that when we’re thinking about education during this time and we think about the importance of growth and grit; it is something we need to pay a lot of attention to. Previously we had to focus on tangible things and tangible outputs in the journey that we’re preparing our children for. She said the changes that we have seen in the past seven months is unprecedented to that of the past hundred years; this type of innovation and pivoting has required of us, not just as educators, but as parents and society, to think through our future workforce and our children.
So, [Tweet “what matters most to your child’s success in life won’t be their grades, won’t be their university major, and it won’t be their first job. Instead, it will be grit, empathy, and social ability”]. She explains that our children with grit have a high level of passion and perseverance. She referenced Angela Duckworth, a researcher from the University of Pennsylvania, who studied high-performing individuals to find out what made them unique. So she found out that effort matters a lot, but that level of effort does not come without passion. So these natural skills that we have, what you naturally lean towards your talent, and then some effort to give us a skill; when we take that with additional effort, then we have achievement. So effort matters not just in developing your talent, but also in developing your skill.
Ways we can build grit
Angela also found that there are ways that we can build grit, it’s something that you can be intentional about. When we think about passion, we think about things that are not sustainable or unrealistic, typically, but could it be that within this passion lies the change and the impact that we so desperately need. The ways we can build grit include:
- Discovering interest spending, time exploring different topics
- Deepening your practice, taking the time to develop and teaching skills, and one focus area of interest
- Developing purpose, identifying why we are doing what we are doing, and the good in what we do
- Nurturing hope, believing that we can address challenges and that we can make things better; because hope is something, that is not so tangible, but you need to be able to see that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for all of these different components to be able to work effectively.
Actions parents can take to help their children to develop grit.
- Allow children to explore their passions.
- Encourage children to follow through with their plans and ideas, even when things become difficult. Not coming in and saving the day, not making things easy like doing their homework so that they get perfect grades; but allowing them to follow through on the plans that they set for themselves and that you may have set together, even when they become difficult.
- Provide the right opportunities for practice in your everyday life.
- Model. We as parents, members of society, teachers, and educators; we have to be intentional because we cannot expect our children, what we are not willing to do on our own. So we need to be able to model grit and spend time with others who value grit.
She said that Duckworth highlights that grit alone is not enough for success, we also need empathy. Empathy also can spark innovation and agility. When we consider the needs, wants and challenges of others, we are better at understanding challenges and creating unique solutions. It is not just a fuzzy feeling this can spark a lot of agility and innovation; Schools and parents can build empathy and innovation skills through design thinking. Design thinking is an approach to problem finding and problem-solving that focuses on having a deep understanding of others. It is really about understanding your user end; understanding the person that needs the solution; what drives them, and generally all that concerns them.
Mr Otto Orondaam
He put it forward that we have to be intentional about fixing the issues that affect not just the children or learners, but focus more on the larger society; else, we will find ourselves in a society where our children would not be able to thrive and survive. He also put forward the questions: Why are we educating? What is the purpose of education? Why are children going to school? What is the end goal after school, and importantly, what is the vision of our country? Because education in itself does not make any sense if it’s not driven in a particular direction or for a particular purpose.
He said that the 20th-century emphasis was mostly on compliance and conformity. That they wanted to have people who will conform to the corporate world, the professional environments, and get good jobs; but those are the ones who are in the generations before the Gen Z. What we were told growing up was to go to school and study and get good jobs; but today, that has completely changed. We should be telling our children, and the young people in the Gen Z to go to school and create jobs because of a lot of the realities we have today. He said the pandemic has dropped on us a few decades ahead, what was going to come. We know that education is a very important investment for every nation; most developed nations are very intentional about the kind of education they deliver and the purpose of said education.
State of our Nation
In the United States, they have policies that bring in qualified young people to come and build their economy, developing them also into the tech capital of the world. China is also big and they are a fast emergent country, with the second-largest economy is manufacturing; so when you look at the education system, it is designed to get young people to come out of school and fit into the manufacturing world. Also to Dubai that is big on tourism. As a country, what is the purpose of us educating our children? Because a lot of the great talents of our nation are leaving in mass; because the economy and future in other countries are better for them. He referred to a study he read by Dell Technologies that says that over 85% of the future jobs that will have in the next ten to twenty years, jobs that generation Z and generation alpha will come into have not yet been invented.
He states that we have to be very intentional about the conversation around equity, and inclusion. On equity, how are we ensuring we carry along with young people in the country? Because data tells us that in the next 30 years we are going to be the third most populous nation in the world, having over 400 million people and about 85% of that demographic will be young people below the age of 25 years. In the next 10 to 15 years, we will realize that most of the careers we have today would be extinct. Therefore, we need to be intentional in having this conversation and building the future that we want to see.
Click HERE to watch the full conference on our Youtube channel