Does school prepare youth for the real world?

School/college/university education doesn’t tackle real-world issues. Real life skills are not included in the curriculum and there is a gap between what students learn in school vs. what they need in later life. Traditional course subjects and topics should not be neglected, but teachers should be able to ask the class, “How can we use this lesson in real life”.

In a globally connected world where technology is efficiently used, the question that comes to mind is: Are we preparing our youth for the future? 

We need to equip our youngsters with positive attitude, vision, values, skills, curiosity, adaptiveness, creativity, critical thinking, teamwork, collaboration, problem solving, flexibility, global and cultural awareness, information literacy, leadership, civic literacy, citizenship, oral and written communication skills, social responsibility, ethics, technology literacy and initiative. The question here is “does our current school curriculum teach all this? Are teachers equipped with the necessary strategies to tackle these important issues?

Our current modified education is non-functional in this regard. There are many Life lessons that are not taught in schools. Teachers should be allowed to promote creativity among students to provoke their curious nature and a desire to learn. In my opinion, education shouldn’t be confined in boundaries where students are seated in the traditional rows and column style with all seats facing the front lends itself to ‘sit-and-listen teaching’. In confined walls, students are brainwashed that good grades are must for a successful life. This has tragic consequences like depression, piled up stress, cheating attitude, short cuts and staying up late common among students. Canada has already felt the alarm, Ontario launches a plan to teach high school kids financial skills

Current education system teaches basic necessities however much of the curriculum is not applicable in the real world. Education should be focused on finding passion, talents or a purpose but the current scenario doesn’t entertain much. Education goes beyond the classroom walls. A common circle is high school-college-university-job which most of us circled without questioning why it is like this? Why not we allowed choosing what we want to be or achieve? Instead, in Pakistan, the professions are chosen by parents.

They want their kids to become doctors, engineers, civil servants, bureaucrats or lawyers. Kids are told that they have to go to college and achieve straight As to be successful. Many students don’t even know who they actually want to be. Education holds no value if true passion is not found. I am not against school/college/university education. They offer great opportunities to judge between right and wrong but the question is still there: does the current education system preparing young generation for the real world?

Time is changing continuously and instead of becoming a book smart young generation should be more focused on skills. After all, education is all about growth. Modern education is molding kids into already set scales where grades, job, good income, a house, a big car are labeled as a successful life. We are making our generation a pay cheque slave, where they have to follow the 9-5 ritual and much more. I strongly recommend that schools should start a class or a subject in which students are encouraged to find their true passion.

Google, Apple, IBM, Starbucks, Whole Foods and other top companies no longer require employees to have a college degree. They reach out to those candidates who have hands-on experience via coding boot camp or an industry-related vocational class. A college degree is not a decided mark for future success in the field. Instead, these big names focus on previous work experience and exposure to the real industry.

With the internet boom, many opportunities have popped up. Singapore has removed the school examination rankings saying kids are not into competition.

The right moment to grasp the right opportunity is in our own hand. Online learning can turn us into an expert. What we learn from our experience, we can use it to coach others. This can be done by the effective use of social media where effective mentoring can change many lives. Author and psychologist Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth says, grit can determine success. In her popular TED talk, she explained: “Grit is passion and perseverance for long-term goals.” Grit is not learned/taught in college.

A degree can help to grow few skills and make new connections, but it doesn’t teach success. Success is an attitude which can be accomplished with hard work, dedication, and passion. so yes, there is something wrong with our schools.