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Thursday, January 13, 2022

Making Education Better in 2022


Some of our predictions and aspirations for the future of education in 2022 and beyond.

  1. Personalisation and student agency

It’s obvious that one size doesn’t fit all - particularly when it comes to preparing young people for an increasingly diverse, complex, multi-faceted world and career. Studio schools and alternative education institutions are leading the way in enabling student agency to break out of rigid learning norms - equipping students with a diverse portfolio of experiences and skillsets catered to their unique needs, rather than forcing students into one of a mere few educational moulds (ATAR, Vocational Education, or General pathways, to name a few). Check out our article about how these institutions are changing the way students venture through their educational journey and equipping them with essential skills to thrive in the future. 

  1. Focus on student wellbeing

In January 2022, students from high schools all around New York City walked out in protest of inadequate COVID-19 prevention measures, asking for options for remote learning in order to safeguard their health. Whether physical or mental health, the last two years have brought to light the importance of placing health and wellbeing at the core of the educational experience. Education has had to balance the competing concerns of returning to in-person learning yet potentially exposing students to COVID-19, or staying with remote learning, often at the cost of compromising students’ mental health and wellbeing. Young people are calling for greater choice and agency in defending their own wellbeing - whether that looks like flexible learning options or a greater focus on mental health support services in schools, the pandemic has catalysed a reckoning with the way we care for young people’s health in educational settings, one which will likely continue to change the way we do schooling into 2022. 

  1. Partnerships between industry and education

Industry and educational institutions will continue to partner in delivering real-world career experiences to students of all backgrounds in 2022 and into the future. The disconnect between secondary education and the world of careers will be combatted by smart careers education, and connections directly to experience for students which enhance their understanding of career options. Schools programs run in collaboration with industries will be key in exposing students to the range of career options available to them 

  1. Growth of entrepreneurship education 

Entrepreneurship programs in schools continue to grow into 2022 - with the ethos that developing entrepreneurship schools not only support students to develop and execute business ideas of their own, but also to develop key transferable skills in critical thinking, problem solving, and innovation. These skills can be applied across a broad and ever-expanding range of fields, and are also critical to developing students personally - increasing their confidence, business-savvy, and encouraging the pursuit of enriching personal projects. Check out Generation Entrepreneur, Byron Dempsey, and Purposeful to this end.

  1. Mainstreaming of digital skills

The World Economic Forum’s 2020 Future of Jobs Survey report demonstrates the undeniable trend of a digitisation of work. Tech and digital skills are no longer viable as elective classes, relegated only to a handful of relevant jobs - they will be front and centre of almost every career in the future. Education systems must adapt to accommodate this shift, by mainstreaming and democratising learning of key digital skills, digital adaptivity and creativity in digital systems, in order to prepare students for the jobs of the future. 

  1. Bringing real-world issues into the classroom

Young people have the ability to find out almost anything about current world issues within seconds with technology and the 24/7 news cycle at their fingertips. Educational institutions cannot keep up with the rate of change that social media and this news cycle enables. So students are calling for teachers and schools to stop glossing over the big issues - to find relevant ways to bring topics of public interest into the classroom and help students engage critically with them in a way that enhances their learning. Subjects like climate change, consent education, institutional racism and disadvantage, and disability rights must be addressed sensitively and topically in a classroom environment, where students can practice forming opinions and engaging meaningfully with current issues. 

  1. Comprehensive sex and consent education

After Chanel Contos started a petition in early 2021 calling for more comprehensive consent education starting at earlier ages in Australian classrooms, she’s received more than 44,000 signatures and 6,500 testimonies of sexual assault. Revelations of a prolific culture of sexual assault and harassment in the Australian parliament brought conversations around consent, comprehensive sex education, and tackling misogyny and toxic masculinity to the forefront. Education has a pivotal role to play in shifting standards around treatment of women and non-binary people, including pushing for inclusive sex education and a thorough explanation of affirmative consent in schools. New South Wales passed an Act mandating affirmative consent education in all government schools - but all schools and educational institutions have a duty to step up to the plate in supporting students to become aware, empathetic, and highly respectful young people in their relationships. 

Additional Note: This article was written by,

. This author is a member of YLAA's Youth Advisory Board. As our organisation continues to evolve, we want to make sure that we continue to represent and empower the voices of youth in their own affairs, that’s why we have created our first Youth Advisory Board - not only to ensure that our students’ interests are at the core of every aspect of our organisation, but also to give the young people we serve the opportunity to develop themselves personally, whilst contributing to our mission of ensuring a sustainable future for all youth.

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