QUALITY EDUCATION: FINDING PHRONESIS

Continuing my series on the reports from the 2018 G20 YEA Summit, the turn has come to the importance of quality education in order to promote and sustain entrepreneurial ventures. At the 2017 G20 YEA Summit in Berlin, entrepreneurs identified quality education as the top priority for improvement by the G20:

“We call upon G20 governments to review educational priorities to ensure young people have access to knowledge and skills vital for new technological and business realities, including digital competencies, STEM education, and venture creation skills.”

G20 YEA has consistently emphasised the topic of education, recognising that it plays a key role in ensuring employability and determining the quality of entrepreneurial initiative. The new technological realities of the knowledge economy unlock unprecedented opportunities for individuals to take initiative, innovate, collaborate to create new value, and start new businesses.

The current typical educational systems, which still represent the structures created to train workers en masse for the industrial monopolies and apparatus of the twentieth century, are lagging behind the new realities. To prepare young people for work in a knowledge economy it is important to focus on new requirements for education: the cultivation of intellectual freedom and initiative, on personal development, on study of new frontiers of science and technology, and on preparing and motivating students to further creative application of knowledge.

In the context of entrepreneurial activity, special attention today should be given to phronesis –practical wisdom or practical reason, which refers to the ability to make right decisions and undertake correct actions in conditions of uncertainty. Education of character, the acquisition of ethical competency and moral independence must again become an important function of education.

In the knowledge economy, the practice of production incorporates the practices of research and development. It thus requires constant horizontal interaction of research and educational institutions with economic agents.

Educational systems are facing a number of challenges that impact their transformation:

  • The need to improve the quality and depth of education. Prevailing curriculum and teaching methods do not anticipate new demands that the knowledge economy sets on individuals.
  • Online education is often seen as a tool for democratisation and personalisation of higher education, but online education cannot substitute traditional offline higher education.
  • Proliferation of players in the educational sphere, due to a growing volume of cutting-edge industry expertise and applied knowledge that is being accumulated by a wide range of economic agents.
  • Increasing global cooperation and competition. While the benefits of international networks and cooperation for educational institutions are evident, national educational systems that are slow to adapt and embrace innovative approaches will be facing increasing drain of talent, worsening marginalisation of their economies.
  • Technology and coding focus. A number of coding schools are being created around the world,putting technologies at the centre of education, but education shouldn’t be fully associated with technology only. History, Geography, Arts, etc., as well as technology should all be part of abetter and quality education system.
  • Introduction of digital technologies in the educational process. Free and instant access to information, teaching and assessment tools and resources has the potential to profoundly change the role of teacher/educator in the educational process.
  • Qualification of educators and teaching materials.
  • Disconnect between education and industry. While initiatives to better link education and business abound, the systemic problem of disconnect still persists.

Read more on the topic here:

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