Learning to continue to learn – The teacher as the key to the education of the future
At the end of March I was keynote speaker at the CvI conference in The Hague. This presentation gave rise to an interesting discussion about the direction our education should take in order to meet the challenges of the future.
Gap between education and the labour market
The core of my story consisted of three points. The first is that we are dealing with a number of megatrends that will have a huge impact on the labour market: the population is ageing, people are moving more and more to cities, economic powers are shifting and rapid technological developments are creating new jobs and making existing jobs change or disappear. For example, there are still a number of trends that have a major impact on the way we will work today and tomorrow.
My second point was that, as a result, businesses and organisations are increasingly in need of people with skills and knowledge that education is often unable to provide at present. This means that the gap between education and the labour market will only grow larger.
So education will have to change. And to change successfully, I argued as the third point in my story, the teacher is the key. Educational changes do not succeed if you impose them from above. They can only be successful if you start from the core of good education: the teacher. Asking the instructor about his or her vision of what students really need and how education – both in terms of content and form – should adapt to this can bring about sustainable change.
How can this be done?
The discussion afterwards focused on the question of what this new education should look like. We know more or less what knowledge and skills will be needed. What types of people are needed in the short and medium term. But instead of adapting the current curriculum and replacing it with another, more appropriate one, the focus should be more on how to teach people how to deal with all the trends. What do you need to remain relevant in a labour market that is constantly changing? What do you need to be able to continuously develop yourself?