Education is more than just algebra and alliteration

Is our education system rapidly becoming archaic as we plunge headlong into a world where people trade their DNA on eBay? Where virtual supply chains and on-demand products rule? And where people conduct virtual romances with people they’ve only met through Cyberspace?

Thought leaders in education are now suggesting that the top ten in-demand jobs for 2010 did not exist in 2004 (see Karl Fisch’s The Fischbowl). If this is the case, how do we prepare the next generation of workers for technologies that are not yet invented?

This question is vitally important to business leaders, educators, parents, politicians and recruiters in today’s world. Together, we must examine the way we are educating our kids. Ensuring our young people receive the best education possible is not so much about algebra and alliteration, but arming them with the knowledge and skills they will need to enter the workforce.

Young people today seem to be born with an innate ability for text-messaging and gaming. And while they may not be able to spell they can tell you their life story on MySpace, entertain you on YouTube, muse philosophically in the blogosphere, contribute to knowledge on Wikipedia, create cutting-edge art on Flickr.

But they learn very little of this in school.

The need for creativity in all aspects of economic and political life is beginning to be recognised. Creative talent is now gaining economic as well as symbolic currency.

Charles Leadbeater, author and Senior Research Associate with the independent think-tank Demos, says that “our children will not have to toil in dark factories, descend into pits or suffocate in mills, to hew raw materials and turn them into manufactured products. They will make their livings through their creativity, ingenuity and imagination.”

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