Our world is evolving at an unprecedented rate, spurred largely by technological advancements. As technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics become mainstream, changing the current nature of work and how we lead our lives, this means many of today’s youths are poised to work in careers that haven’t yet been invented.
An analysis by the McKinsey Global Institute shows that 51 percent of job activities are highly susceptible to automation. This makes it essential that today’s youth acquire digital and transferable skills that would help them transition smoothly into university and beyond.
Education plays a pivotal role in preparing the current and future generations for the uncertain future of work. This makes it essential for schools to offer a modern curriculum that lays the foundation for students to thrive in the future of work, and in ensuring they are equipped with 21st century skills that match the demands of the future job market, be it in STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics) or other industries.
Parents looking to ensure their children are given the best start in life will want to enrol their child in a school that encourages students to be active learners, nurturing curious minds with innovative learning spaces. Such environments can promote problem-solving, creative and innovative skills, as these can’t easily be replicated by machines. Such skills can be used to address pressing issues such as sustainability, among others.
Asia is an emerging education hub that’s home to some such schools. Here are four international schools that encourage question-based learning to help students solve 21st century challenges:
Located on Jeju Island, South Korea, this international day and boarding school for girls prides itself on its innovative education through its continuum IB programs. For instance, each year, students from Grades 4 to 11 complete interdisciplinary projects related to Innovative Systems Design, where they are challenged to solve real-world problems.
The school offers interdisciplinary units organised around the concept of Triple Bottom Line (TBL), which frames the costs and benefits of any solution or product in terms of its social, environmental and economic influences. The focus is not only on developing a technical solution to solve a problem, but on learning the impact it has on individuals and communities. Through this, economically sustainable solutions that address the world’s problems can be found.
The school also empowers girls and enables them to thrive in STEM. Students have earned awards at world robotics competitions, built their own wind turbines, won prizes for their entrepreneurial work related to cleaning plastics from the ocean and received patents for their inventions to improve mobility for disabled animals. Through a unique curriculum, students are equipped with essential skills for the future, including computer programming, design technology, team building, collaboration and research skills.
International Merit Scholarships are available to non-Korean students new to Branksome Hall Asia in the Middle and Senior School. The Scholarship award provides 30 percent of the tuition fees and 30 percent of boarding fees (if applying for the boarding programme). International students may apply in Round 1 by November 14 for entrance on February 2020 (Semester Two of 2019-2020 academic year) or Round 2 by March 16, 2020 for entrance at the start of the 2020-2021 academic year, in August, 2020.
As a school that understands no two child learns the same way, Nexus prides itself on teaching its students in an innovative and engaging way. The school has cemented itself as a leading educator, and is an accredited member of the Council of International Schools and a recipient of exclusive Apple Distinguished School (ADS) status.
A school is only as good as its teachers, and at Nexus, students learn from a team of internationally qualified and highly experienced educators. Some 35 percent of teachers hold a Master’s degree, with many more currently studying at postgraduate level. The school employs staff from various countries who are able to speak multiple languages to help children communicate and build their confidence, while teachers also undergo continuous training to facilitate their professional development, which ultimately benefits students.
Excellent teaching faculty aside, the school understands that learning is enhanced when students are in a fun environment supported by caring teachers. Lessons really come to life at Nexus, where a Research and Forensics lesson can entail walking through crime tapes at the door and solving a murder mystery. Students also develop outside the classroom and have the option to choose from over 90 cocurricular activities, from robotics to climbing, to build their skills outside the classroom.
To further accentuate their innovative teaching practices, Nexus will be moving into its newly built campus in January 2020, which is based on the “open classroom” concept designed by its teachers. This unique building has no desks or doors, and is aimed at fostering collaborative spaces and enhancing creativity.
ISHCMC provides state-of-the-art facilities, a modern curriculum and a progressive school mission based around energised and engaged learning that allows students to take ownership of their future.
The school provides an excellent opportunity for students to be curious, develop creativity and hone their talents in innovation. Students have access to modern technology in information, design, art, music and day-to-day learning. The campus is bustling with computers, 3D printers, laser cutters, robotic units and more. Encouraging students to work with technology serves as preparation for the days when they’ll be working with, and alongside, self-learning machines.
Providing these technological resources is not enough to prepare students for the future. The knowledge and skills required to use these technologies must be matched by developing creative and critical thinking, allowing students to take risks and see failure as an essential building block for future success.
Having students who are skilled in creative and innovative problem solving will differentiate them from artificial intelligence (AI). Students who are resilient and see challenge and change as positive opportunities will excel. They must know that they’re unlikely to have a career for life and therefore must be open-minded and flexible so they can retrain, learn and adapt throughout their working days. ISHCMC develops life-long learners who will flourish in our future world, whatever it may look like.
GEMS (Singapore) is a truly international school, with a student body comprising over 60 nationalities. It’s the only school in Singapore to offer all four International Baccalaureate Programmes (IB).
The school boasts world-class facilities that provide a rich environment and support luminous minds. Approaches to teaching and learning are further enhanced by exceptional sports, arts and technology resources. Meanwhile, GEMS (Singapore) also has a centre for innovation and entrepreneurship, which provides an opportunity for students to be at the cutting-edge of technological developments as they happen.
Learning is never passive at this school; instead, students are encouraged to apply the skills they learned in all their classes to the open-ended, creative exercises they are given, helping them establish connections between subjects and using those connections to further their learning in all areas. This practice hones their analytical thinking skills and helps them develop creative reasoning.
Students also benefit from the schools’ globally experienced and highly-qualified international IB practitioners, while its low student-teacher ratio provides a platform for students to learn in an intimate environment. GEMS (Singapore) also offers diverse extracurricular activities that grants students a platform to develop holistic and well-balanced lifestyles, allowing them to develop their character, acquire new skills and discover new passions.
It’s clear that GEMS (Singapore) doesn’t only serve as an excellent platform for pre-university preparation, but also towards instilling global citizenship for the increasingly globalised economy.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International