Saturday, 30 January 2016

Preparing Kids for a Disrupted World

Hong Kong needs to shake up its approach to education to prepare students
At a workshop I attended earlier this week, the theme was disruptors, and how they have challenged traditional business models. These include Airbnb, Uber, and Google, and how things are much cheaper than before, or require less humans to operate them, and hence less employment.

The leader of the workshop contended that by 2018, 80 percent of companies will be disrupted. Currently 80 percent report dealing with disruption already, though only 50 percent of them are doing something about it.

He added there are already major disruptions in finance, law, marketing and human resources.

And then he said, "I don't mean to offend anyone in the room, but I find Hong Kong students boring and unstimulated. They just want to have the highest-paying job at the fastest way possible."

Rote learning will not help kids deal with a disrupted world
That sparked a flurry of opinions in the audience.

Some said it was because parents have made money a priority, and it was also the education system that made the kids boring learning by rote.

Another said that as a mother she didn't know how to prepare her children with how to deal with the world when they graduate and the school system in Hong Kong was all about rote learning and not giving the students skills on adapting to a world full of disruptions.

This is a good point -- how do you prepare your child for today's work force in which nothing is predictable?

How do you explain to them they need to know general knowledge, but that also they need skills on flexibility, creativity, be a team player and be disciplined and hardworking?

It seems like Hong Kong's education system is totally behind on this, and still focused on meeting certain targets that are definitely not related to the students' development.

By the same token, the parents need to stop coddling their children and get them to be independent. Some kids can't even tie shoelaces at the age of 10, or peel apples at the age of 24. They need to be able to fend themselves and having a helper do everything for them is not going to help.

Scheduling every minute of their lives isn't helpful either -- the children don't want to learn anymore and that's the last thing you want to happen. If they are already burned out at seven, how are they going to continue learning the rest of their lives?

Physical activity is also important -- team sports helps them to learn the importance of working together towards a goal as well as make good friends. It's also a good way to keep fit and focus on things other than school work.

While many parents claim to know the benefits of the above-mentioned points, they are too scared to have their child do one less thing because that may hinder him or her from getting into an elite school, or fall behind their peers.

The rat race starts as soon as the child is born in Hong Kong. How fun is that?

And people wonder why Hong Kong's youth are not "hungry"....

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