Social and emotional tools are some of the most important skills you can learn as a human being, let alone as a student, speakers stressed during the Virtual Boardroom. Students agreed that whilst adoption of technology and use of it within education is no longer a question, the consensus was that soft skills such as social, cultural and mental skills are skills that shouldn’t be left behind and that a physical presence will be required to develop these core skills. This is especially true as the world moves into an era where adaptable intelligence and emotional intelligence are increasingly prized – both in academia and the workplace.
To help reinforce these skills, and thus students’ employability, testing methods must be revamped. Current methods predominately test what you can remember, rather than how you can critically think around a subject to provide an innovative solution. And of course, it’s the latter that the workplace desires, especially in an era of the 4IR. A new system of testing – both online and in classrooms – must be developed to spur students’ ability to learn independently, speakers said. Ideally, teachers and professors will be more like facilitators of knowledge, rather than holding students’ hands through their education, one student said.
Arguably, this year – with so many students disrupted and having to find their feet with home learning – has done exactly that. At the end of March, there were 1.5 billion affected learners – 82.8 per cent of the global total – with 166 country-wide closures, UNESCO’s data revealed. Six months later in October, there were still more than half a million learners affected – 33 per cent of the global total – with an estimated 34 country-wide closures.4 Unsurprisingly against this backdrop, students urged the education sector to put more of a spotlight on protecting learners’ mental health.
As the region transforms and adapts in the post COVID-19 world, educational institutions at all levels have a golden opportunity to leverage the current momentum to sustain positive changes in the education sector. In short, it’s an opportunity to build back better – notably for our intellectual resilience and for our academic creativity. Wild concluded the Virtual Boardroom, with a sentiment that applies to every student and teacher worldwide: “We can’t control the world but can control our paths within it.”
With education being a key growth area for the Middle East, contact us to discuss how HSBC can support your plans in the sector.