Saturday, December 12, 2015

Understanding youth preferences is the start to a new education policy

Youth aspirations and intentions now are very different to what they were in the past, but yet our education system has not come up with the changes needed to be relevant to 2015 and beyond, still stuck in 1945. We now have to think of Sri Lanka in 2065 and to that end, must make the relevant structural changes to education to reflect this aspirational change.
While the increasing Globalization sees many commonalities amongst youth, their fulfillment depends on the individual and unique traits in the Country they happen to live in and the opportunities afforded there. To that extent the Education system must be tailored to the unique circumstance of the country.

Today’s youth will move out of the home early in life to some far off place. Their Educational program must reflect this and enable them to do this with ease. Many will work for themselves within a few years of gaining experience in some field through employment in an organization, be it in the public or private sector.

It is this future in mind that we need to be aware of when designing new educational opportunities and teaching programs. It goes without saying that the most important thing that we can give our youth is a working knowledge of English which will increase their exposure to the world over that they now have.

We can  be as rich as a small nation like Norway that has its own language, and while the citizens are proud of their language to communicate with their fellow citizens they are all very fluent in English to communicate with the rest of  the world and widen their horizons both for employment and travel. Why can’t we also do so? If we had made this sea change we would be far ahead of Norway and not have to lag behind.

Unfortunately we don’t have educators or administrators with a vision to see this obvious gap. They are still merely paying lip service, and how long must our lips be to service them?

Time for a new system, that teaches everyone a minimum level till they are 16. It MUST be interactive, interesting, imaginative, creative and most of all congruent with the new aspirations of young people as outlined in the link above.

The link refers to youth whose ideas have been surveyed and found out their hopes and behavior patterns, and we can tailor make ourNATIONAL EDUCATION PLAN with reference to the aspirational lifestyle of our youth.

Put simply don’t teach religion at school, make the children want to learn religion of their own accord and seek to learn from Temples instead. They will learn more this way instead of hating the subject! This is only an example and I did not pick on religion for any other purpose other than make a point.

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