Preparing For The Future

by Patrick Liew on August 20, 2019

Preparing For The Future

Educational institutions cannot just be a periodical stop over for the learning journey.

These institutions, especially universities have to be transformed into lifelong learning institutions in order to help our people learn, improve and achieve better results throughout their lifetimes.

They have to work as a vital and an integral part of the public-private-people collaboration to ensure that our people stay relevant and at the cutting-edge of the economy.

In line with this aspiration, we need to continue to reform our institutions to help our people survive and succeed in a fast-changing world.

For example, according to educational leader Dr Ken Robinson, the way we structure our educational institutions according to different schools of practice is a remnant of the industrial age.

In the new economy, we need our graduates to operate in a multidisciplinary, multidimensional and multifaceted way so as to function as problems solvers and solutions providers.

We need to also move further away from what educators call the factory model system.

This system is characterized by centralized planning, top-down management, classroom-centric learning, assessment-based outcomes, and separation from the community and industry.

In addition, it’s not sufficient for our institutions to train our people for a specific profession or career.

Educational institutions need to help our people inculcate different knowledge and skills to succeed in multiple careers and at different organisations and locations in the new world.

In this regard, teachers should shift from being inclined to transferring content knowledge to helping our people become self-directed learners through practical and hands-on project-based learning activities.

They have to train students to learn on their own and apply evolving knowledge to achieve sustainable success.

Proactively engage support of the community and industry in enhancing the educational experience and outcomes.

It will ensure that students develop critical thinking and learn how to be creative and innovative in leading and managing real world issues.

While it’s important to prepare our people for the future, it’s also important to be mindful that the world is probably changing faster than we can predict its future landscapes and other outcomes.

Therefore, it’s important that we help our people inculcate what educators term as 21st century skills to help our students respond to and leverage the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous future.

We cannot stop challenges but we can help our people develop the capacity, capability, agility, and tenacity to resolve these challenges.

By helping them develop 21st century skills, we can help unleash and channel their energies to become better leaders and useful members of the economy and society.

It bodes well to be constantly reminded that formal education can only open the door to a career but lifelong learning can help our students reach the top floor of the economy and life.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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