Future skills: 7 essential skills your kids should learn at school to succeed in the future


Roads are filling up in the mornings and peak-hour traffic living up to its reputation, and the kids are adjusting to 6am wake-up calls. But the academic year brings more than just early mornings and early nights. For the kids, it also means adapting to the teaching styles of a new teacher, having to make new friends and, of course, learning new content and skills.

But which skills are your children actually learning in school?

And are they learning the right skills?

For a long time we’ve celebrated particular skills and subjects that we’ve always believed would result in our kids succeeding. These subjects often included Maths and Science and we put an emphasis on the skills that would push our kids into career paths that were "hot", as Michael Price, an entrepreneur and author of What Next? The Millennial’s Guide To Surviving and Thriving in the Real World, puts it.

But Price explains:

“Prior to Generation X you could get and maintain a well-paying job and stay there for 20-40 years. Those days are long gone. As we move from one generation to the next, parents pass along life advice to their children hoping to inspire them to achieve what they did and more. That was the model for parenting and it worked up until now. The problem is the world moves much faster nowadays… Thirty years ago a parent would love for nothing more than for their child to grow up and pursue a career as a lawyer or a doctor. Thirty years ago those careers were hot. They were well paying and prestigious. This isn’t necessarily the case anymore.”

So what then are the skills our kids should be learning for the jobs that will dominate in the information technology revolution and the subsequent fast-paced world?

The World Economic Forum lists the 7 must-have skills children should be learning in school to keep up and help build the future:

The World Economic Forum and the Center for Global Education, Asia Society, list the following:

1. Critical thinking and problem-solving

"Schools need to teach children to ask questions and think for themselves." Not only do they have to ask questions, they have to learn to ask the right questions, to interrogate data and get to the bottom of things.

Imagine computers doing most of the programming: we'll still need to tell the computer what problem to solve, what questions we need answered. As in any generation, there will be new problems we can't foresee now. Help your child to think of solutions to their own problems instead of being blinded by them. 

2. Collaboration and leading by influence

"Teach children to cooperate rather than use top-down authority." Multidisciplinary, multiskilled teams are already more common. Teach your child to be a good team player, to know their own strengths and to see how they can apply those skills and talents to compliment others' strengths.  

3. Agility and adaptability

"Children need to be constantly re-learning to keep up with a fast-moving environment." Technology births new programmes and gadgets every day, and in their work life, our kids would need to be able to jump on it, try it out, and even improve on it quickly. There will be new industries and new opportunities, and the better our kids can adapt, the more ahead of the game they'll be.

4. Initiative and entrepreneurialism

"Children have to be inspired to become ‘doers’ and innovators." Gone are the days where we sit back and wait for a big company to give us jobs. And for the kids, things will be even less linear. We'll have to teach them how to think business, even (especially) if they're an artist. 

5. Good oral and written communication

"Communicating clearly is key in the knowledge economy." In an environment where more people may be working remotely and only connect via devices, old-fashioned skills like reading body language may be of less relevance. Teach your kids to convey their ideas and emotions clearly and concisely – at least for formal business situations. And while mother tongue education will remain crucial, it's vital that our kids will be able to speak and write English correctly and fluently. 

6. Accessing and analysing information

"Children need to distinguish between the fake and the factual." Fake news is not news any more, it's become part of the fibre of media consumption. Whether it's malicious disinformation, fake information for the sake of raking in advertising revenue, or rumours that go viral: teach your child to discern between what's real and what's not.

7. Curiosity and imagination

"Children should be inquisitive and creativity should be encouraged." Let them play! Give them space, let them be bored. Pique their interest with fun DIY projects and experiments, and let them read, read, read. 

The video concludes, “Future employees will need to be extremely adaptable and be able to learn new skills quickly. The future workplace will be fast moving and present difficult new challenges."

So, are your children learning the right skills they need to succeed? How does your child's school encourage the development of these skills?

Tell us by commenting below or email us at chatback@parent24.com and we may publish your comments.

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