Last week I wrote about my friend Matt, the video games designer who, just leaving university, is preparing for a career that will include jobs that have not yet even been invented. A number of readers have asked what our schools should be teaching, if all knowledge is now just a click away on Google and what we know now is likely to be out of date in a matter of months.
As part of its 25th anniversary celebrations,my friends at HTI (Heads Teachers and Industry) have interviewed more than 50 business leaders and educationalists to produce a report that tries to answer just that question. These people include Sir Martin Sorrell, Founder and CEO of advertising company WPP; Miles Templeman, Director General of the Institute of Directors and Young Enterprise Trustee; Simon Woodroffe of Yo! Sushi; and Heather Rabbatts of Millwall FC.
Here are the top nine things that these people reckon today and tomorrow’s pupils need:
- Very high standards in English and maths and core knowledge of key elements of science, great literature and our nation’s history.
- The skills to think in different ways: collaboratively in teams as well as individually; deductively as well as inductively; creatively as well as logically.
- The capacity and research skills to distinguish good evidence from bad – particularly important in this Google age.
- Confidence and enthusiasm, which can be learned through the curriculum, but equally through sport, adventurous activity, drama, music, art, public speaking and debating.
- Interpersonal skills and empathy; they need to understand a diverse range of viewpoints in the 21st century.
- A set of values that build character and send of purpose; they need that bit extra in terms of self-discipline, good manners, smartness, punctuality, respect and that old-fashioned concept of sacrifice in achieving what you want to achieve.
- Resilience: the capacity to handle failures or knock-backs and keep on going.
- An inquisitive nature, critical thinking and a self-directed approach to learning
- Practical as well as academic intelligence: this requires real-world opportunities and higher quality, more practical work related learning so young people can develop skills in a way that makes sense to them.
I think this is a pretty brilliant list. And it certainly plays into the agendas of the two organisations with which I am intimately involved and which, I believe, add great value to young people’s preparations for adult life. I might be tempted to add a specific reference to enterprise somewhere.
But would you add anything else?