TL;DR – Apparently we are the best.
There’s a lot of talk recently about the future of our economy. We are rolling out the Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs). We have a Future Economy Council to drive the growth and transformation of Singapore’s economy for the future.
Are we ready for such transformation?
Are we ready for the future?
Are our kids?
Well… according to the World Economic Forum (WEF), we are probably the best at preparing our kids for the future compared to other countries. Or at least for jobs of the future.
Soft-skills are needed for jobs of the future
When asked which skills the children of today will need to develop to keep their jobs safe from automation, employers often highlight so-called “soft skills”, a suite of attributes that include social abilities like networking, communication, negotiation, team-building and problem-solving. At the root of these skills is how well a child gets on with others.
The most recent Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) report which assesses how 15-year-olds in OECD countries are performing in science, mathematics and reading, has revealed that Singapore scored the highest in collaborative problem solving. Collaborative problem solving is defined as:
“The capacity of an individual to effectively engage in the process whereby two or more agents attempt to solve a problem by sharing the understanding and effort required to come to a solution and pooling their knowledge, skills and efforts to reach the solution.”
Which is something our students have
So it seems that we aren’t only good at mugging. Our students are quite capable of working together with one another to achieve more than what they individually can.
This tells a different story about our education system.
The story used to be that our education system is all about rote learning and memorising, about drilling students with ten-year series questions. That our kids can’t think out of the box and can only do well in exams. But now it seems that our kids aren’t just exam taking robots. They are quite capable of working together to solve problems.
But there’s still room for improvement
That doesn’t mean that our system is perfect. It is still a very stressful system. And being prepared for jobs of the future doesn’t necessarily mean that our kids will really get the jobs they want, with the pay that could meet their life aspirations. It also makes one wonder whether our system is good at helping our kids find personal fulfillment and happiness, or is our system just concerned with churning out cogs in our economic machinery?