Roger James Hamilton, author and co-founder of Genius School

#FutureOfEducation - The pandemic has hit many sectors hard, but really, we are only just at the beginning of this crisis and there is much more to unfold before we are out of the other side. During this crisis the education sector has been turned upside down, with some schools shut or only taking limited numbers of students.

As a result, schools, colleges, and universities have had to adapt and offer all of their students alternative ways to access their courses and keep communication channels with their teachers open.

Roger James Hamilton, founder and CEO of Genius Group and co-founder of Genius School, is spearheading the education revolution, and explores how the pandemic has changed our education system and what are the takeaway advantages that we can use to shape how we educate our future generations:

The inevitable shift to online education

COVID-19 has impacted the very rituals that our society is based upon and reducing social interactions to a distance. Of course, knowing that schools are breeding grounds for germs in normal times, COVID-19 has brought many educational establishments to a close. From class and year bubbles isolating to universities having to quarantine thousands of students, the education system as we know it has had to pivot, and fast.

Education is such a basic right and a cornerstone of our society that when COVID first hit in early 2020 and schools, colleges and universities shut, many were stunned by the implications and impact on learning, social skills and mental health. With the need to continue learning and with many teachers desperate to help their most vulnerable students, a shift to online education became inevitable.

And as we have had to navigate this new world, we have found solace in being together while apart and this has helped break down many international barriers. With physical distance overcome through the means of technology and video call, this digital world has enabled us to better connect with others from far and wide. This mindset should be instilled in our future generations; there are no boundaries digitally and where learning was once constrained to face to face classes, now schools can look to engage experts across the globe to inspire and engage their students with new and interesting ideas.

Learning needs to be a more open and flexible process

But what if this crisis has also opened our eyes to the flaws in the curriculum that the current education system offers? Are we training our future generations correctly for the world they will find themselves in when they start on their career path? The world has changed rapidly over the last year and we need to equip children with the skills they will need for the future, now.

The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened many issues with the economy, job security and the rate that technology is changing our world. We should be looking ahead at a new world where technology enables faster, smarter and better thinking - that enables streamlined processes and output. In the future, most job roles will be more dependent on technology and a curriculum based around digital learning and technology-based interactions will set students up for this transition from an early age.

A new curriculum that is child centric and offers each child the chance to flourish and equips them with the skills to carve their own role from their passions and interests will see the future looking a more brighter and engaging place. Enabling students to feel confident enough to be entrepreneurial and forge their own path will be an invaluable skill in the uncertain economic landscape we have found ourselves in.

Change is needed in the education sector

Learning needs to be a more open and flexible process allowing each student to grow and find their own niche in life. Why is it that we only have a one size fits all system that leaves some students disillusioned and lacking in confidence? School should be a nourishing and nurturing space that offers each and every child the chance to find their genius.

Since the UK’s last recession in 2008, self-employment numbers and the gig economy trend have been steadily rising. The impact of COVID-19 is only set to increase the trend for gig work as well as the sharing economy thanks to increasing numbers working from home and elevated redundancy figures.  

Offering all students the potential to be entrepreneurial creates a level playing field and enables the workforce of tomorrow to learn how to forge their own path in a rapidly changing economic landscape. Whether they start their own business and employ others or choose to bring their skills into an existing company, the entrepreneurial spirit will be invaluable.

The future should focus on an inclusive, globalised and open source curriculum which offers a network and community that any individual, class or school can be part of.

Education is imperative in the progress of future generations. In the western world every child is entitled to an education and it is the process in which our children and our children’s children will learn about the world, find their own identity, and ultimately prepare themselves to one day enter the world of work and contribute back to society.

So out of a crisis comes change and this change is needed in the education sector. As we embark on a new chapter, post COVID-19, and try to salvage the damage made to the economy, it becomes even more imperative that we are teaching our children the necessary skills to contribute back to society. A heightened need for entrepreneurial spirit will help rebuild our industries and create a brighter, better future for all.

Roger James Hamilton is a world-renowned futurist, New York Times bestselling author and co-founder of Genius School

Genius School is the world’s first global, virtual school providing a full curriculum designed to nurture entrepreneurs, artists, changemakers and global citizens. Roger is also founder of Genius Group, a $300 million group of companies leading the entrepreneur movement which includes his tech company GeniusU.

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