Future Education
Post Pandemic Blueprint for Future Education

I have shared an opinion many times that “the pandemic did not change education, it just accelerated a move that was already underway.” Overnight the pace of change accelerated and some were ready, some were not, and many or most did the very best they could under extremely challenging circumstances. The “future of education” took some rapid steps forward.

When setting up new schools, we are very determined to have a long-term vision for future education that is best practice. The school must prepare children for a world not yet created, planned or invented. In order to do that, we must look a little bit backwards, around and near us in order to predict what might be required.

Hybrid Capabilities in Schools

Hybrid capabilities in schools is no longer “innovative.” We consider it “essential” for current and future education. Not for another pandemic or a crisis, but for more effective 21st century education. Complete and full integration of technology means that classrooms are no longer bound by 4 walls or a bell schedule. Schools need to deliver instruction and provide educational environments that meet the needs of digital natives. A computer, a smart phone, a pencil, ruler, a 3D printer are all just tools. Schools use tools to accelerate academic goals and achievement.

“We need to move away from a paradigm that considers technology tools as special and unique additions. It is 2021…we learn 24/7 and we personalise learning.”

Greg Parry

Educational Leadership Balancing Academic with Business Intellect

Most great educational leaders begin as teachers. That’s how it should be! You cannot lead a great school unless you are an outstanding educational leader. I shake my head when I see schools being led by business people whose only experience is that they attended a school when they were a child, sent their own children to a school, or they just happen to be passionate about education as well as making money. With that, the challenge that most often exists in schools is that educational leaders are often learning the business side along the way. The pandemic challenged every business and organisation in the world, financially. Whether a school is for profit or non-profit, it is essential that all strategic priorities are being led by strong and competent leaders across all fields.

“There is no mission without money and there is no money without mission.”

Greg Parry

Strong International Education Leadership

Leadership within an international education context is different. The following list reflects another article titled “What is the Recipe for Outstanding School Leadership” Post pandemic there are some things that have not changed but the world is always moving and we need to adapt to every different circumstance we encounter.

  • Outstanding School Leaders are Comfortable in Their Own Skin – Leaders don’t need to be perfect but they must have far less vulnerabilities, insecurities and character flaws than their peers. They need to be confident enough to answer questions honestly and with authenticity. They must be balanced.
  • Outstanding Leaders Have Superior Expertise in both Curriculum as well as Teaching and Learning – A Head of School or Principal must have a track record, earlier in their career, of being very good in the field of curriculum as well as teaching and learning. They must have demonstrated exceptional expertise in making a difference with student achievement. 
  • Leaders Make Informed Decisions from Measurable Data or Evidence – We should use data, and seek out broad and comprehensive evidence to make sure our actions and decisions are the right ones.
  • They Lead Democracy, Consultation and Buy In – It is essential that we do not operate as autocratic leaders. We must discuss, seek input, consult and develop buy-in on important decisions. 
  • Delegation – Outstanding leaders Know what it really means – Develop leaders through empowerment. If your potential leaders need a job list then either they are not truly leaders or you are not creating a leadership culture. 
  • Leaders are Systems Oriented – As the leader of a school you need to be more in charge of systems than people. You are responsible for making sure that agreed policies, systems and procedures achieve exceptional results. That includes a school culture that values input, out of the box thinking and sometimes less-traditional thinking.
  • Leaders Have Acute Self-Awareness – Great leaders sometimes make brave, courageous, tough decisions. Some decisions may even have dire consequences however outstanding leaders are intimately aware of the possible consequences. Eyes are wide open!
  • An Inspiring Vision Represents Outstanding School Leadership – Vision is commonly included as one of the key characteristics of great leadership but an inspiring vision must be big and relentless. 
  • Leaders Remove Obstacles – Knowing that teachers are the most important people in your building, what do you do to remove barriers?
  • Outstanding Leaders Stay Balanced

What has happened that will immediately impact the current generation of young people and their plans for the future and future education provision?

IT and Cybersecurity for Future Education

During the Covid-19 pandemic, companies all throughout the world were reportedly spending billions of dollars each week to keep up with the rapidly changing technology demands of workers who overnight began working virtually. There was a significant rise in cyber threats and a large percentage of companies were forced to rapidly hire cybersecurity professionals as a key priority.

We know that security has never been more important in a world of mass remote working and digital transformation. and over half (56%) of respondents to a study during 2020 said that their organisations were at risk due to cybersecurity staff shortages.

What other technology industries have an increased demand?

  • Cloud computing – our connection to cloud based platforms will increase.
  • AI and machine learning – human to computer interaction is accelerating
  • Blockchain – There will be a focus on transparent supply chains, smart contracts, central bank money, crypto assets, and decentralised exchanges.
  • Virtual reality and augmented reality – commercial use of this technology has exploded
  • User-experience design – telemedicine, augmented reality, voice interface (eg Alexa)
  • Mobile app development – universal integration of Apps

Essential Skills: There are not many tech pros who have mastered not only the necessary “technical abilities”, but also “soft skills.”

Soft Skills:

  • Eagerness to dig into technical questions and examine them from all sides.
  • Enthusiasm and a high degree of adaptability.
  • Strong analytical and diagnostic skills.
  • Excellent presentation and communications skills to effectively communicate with others.
  • Ability to clearly articulate complex concepts (both written and verbally).
  • Ability, understanding, and usage of active listening skills.

Technical Skills:

The required technical skills cross many sub-disciplines within the IT and cybersecurity field so it is difficult to describe the full range of areas but many share a common technical foundation.

Video and Audio Production for Future Education

For many of us in lockdown for large periods of time, we started experimenting with new social media platforms and a few new phenomena have changed the landscape for ever. A significant movement happened for brands that is transforming their models for storytelling and brand marketing. TikTok and other entertainment media platforms have moved the traditional models remarkably and marketing companies require employees to have the ability to produce compelling video and audio assets as one of the most in demand skills in the current job market. At the center of this significant movement are people, who are redefining the way that people connect and what they expect from each other through both personal, professional and commercial exchanges. Fuelled by COVID, there’s been an increased appetite for more inclusivity and authenticity. Podcasting was already big but it got bigger. Platforms like Clubhouse gained traction. As the world changed and people’s connections have evolved these new trends are increasing a demand for improved video and audio production skills.

Essential Skills: This industry requires an important balance between having high levels of competence with specialist and technical equipment as well as being very creative.

Soft Skills:

  • Creative and adaptable
  • Detail oriented
  • Well organised
  • Ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines

Technical Skills:

In these fields, you obviously work with high-end equipment and cutting-edge technology.

  • Operate sound and mixing boards, lighting, computers and other broadcasting equipment
  • Record, mix and reproduce sound effects, music , video and voices for audio or visual quality
  • Synchronize voices or video imagery and sounds
  • Edit live recordings on computers
  • Create motion graphics
  • Ability to use many and varied Apps. In truth a new App emerges almost every day and young people adapt and become competent.

Foreign Languages and Translation for Future Education

Although international travel stopped almost overnight our need to communicate more effectively with people of other cultures and languages accelerated. We were reminded once again how dependent countries are on each other.
Our economies are increasingly globalised and interconnected. Our need to cooperate in the areas of science, medicine and technology was crucial. This accelerated a demand for multi-language fluency, as well a need for large companies to have personnel with translation skills. 

Top Languages for Business and Work:

Mandarin: Over the past few decades, their economy has flourished to become one of the largest in the world. Speaking Chinese will open doors for you in many countries as it is also spoken in Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and several expat communities around the world.

Spanish: As the third biggest language in the world, learning Spanish allows communication with over 530 speakers in countries as diverse as Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Nicaragua, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Venezuela, Spain, and Equatorial Guinea.

Portuguese:  Portuguese is spoken by over 220 million in Portugal, Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Macau, Cape Verde, and São Tomé and Príncipe. There’s also a strong cultural presence of Portuguese in parts of India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Arabic: Arabic has more than 315 million native speakers. Additionally, Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are attracting more career-minded individuals than ever before. The economy in this part of the world centres around thriving industries like oil, gas, tourism and fashion, creating a combined GDP of $2.5 trillion across the 30 counties that comprise the Arab world.

English: Named ‘the fastest-spreading language in human history’ by Harvard Business Review, English is considered to be the most global language in both business and everyday life. If a student is learning English as a second language they need to be very strong. It is the language of technology, science, international organisations, sports, aviation, advertising and education.

Data Analysis and Statistics for Future Education

The amount of data that we as humans generate every day is incredible. Every purchase of any product anywhere is a piece of data. Every phone call and social media post is a piece of data. Advances in computer systems and data gathering make it possible to store and dissect this information. Companies realise that they make more informed strategic decisions with data analytics. It has become a top priority in marketing and advertising, with most companies focussed on data-driven marketing models. Most corporate leaders across most sectors are now making decisions rooted in comprehensive data analysis.
Data is is at the core of better decisions, and the skills and ability to collect and interpret data in effective ways will be a major asset to current and future generations. Research shows that nearly 70 percent of U.S. executives say they prefer job candidates with data skills , and the demand for analysts will only grow as we continue to digitise our physical world.

Essential Skills:

  • Structured Query Language (SQL) – SQL, or Structured Query Language, is the ubiquitous industry-standard database language and is possibly the most important skill for data analysts to know. 
  • Microsoft Excel – When you think of Excel, the first thing that comes to mind is likely a spreadsheet, but there’s a lot more to advanced Excel skills.
  • Critical Thinking – Using data to find answers to your questions means figuring out what to ask in the first place.
  • R or Python-Statistical Programming – These are powerful statistical programming languages used to perform advanced analyses and predictive analytics on big data sets. 
  • Data Visualisation – Analysts use eye-catching, high-quality charts and graphs to present their findings in a clear and concise way. 
  • Presentation Skills – Data visualisation, analysis and presentation skills go hand-in-hand.
  • Machine Learning – As artificial intelligence and predictive analytics are two of the hottest topics in the field of data science, an understanding of machine learning has been identified as a key component of an analyst’s toolkit. 

Creativity for Future Education

78% of college-educated professionals over age 25 stated that they wish they had more creative ability. Leonardo Da Vinci represents in many ways the impact that can be made when creativity meets science and logic. We design and become innovators when we can apply and respond to facts, problems and circumstances in “out of the box” ways.

We should no longer encourage content specific streams that are too narrow in focus. Yes, let’s focus on what children need for the future but we need to balance skills and recognise that adaptability is achieved through a dynamic approach to tasks.

  • Creative thinking is the ability to consider something in a new way.
  • Creative thinking includes analysis, open-mindedness, problem-solving, organisation, and communication. 
  • Many employers value creative thinkers, so it is important to develop the highest levels of creative thinking skills

(Adapted from source)

If you want to learn more about the steps required to set up a school, check out some of our other articles:

Steps to Setting Up a New School

10 Steps and Articles on How to Set Up a New School

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CEO and Education Expert Greg Parry

Greg Parry

Internationally renowned for his expertise in education leadership, Greg Parry’s vast experience includes leadership of projects for edu-cation institutions throughout Australia, the Middle East, the United States, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and China. Recognised for his numerous contributions in the education arena, Greg has received the Ministers Award for Excellence in School Leadership based on improvements in school performance and a range of successful principal training and leadership development programs, as well as the School of Excellence Award for Industry/School Partnerships and the School of Excellence Award for Technology Innovation. His company GSE (Global Services in Education) has been recognised as having the Best Global Brand in International Education in 2015 and 2016.

Considered one of the premier experts in his profession, Greg has trained teachers and principals throughout the world in areas such as critical thinking, language development and leadership. His expertise in school start up projects, leadership and curriculum development, has made him a sought after authority in these disciplines.

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Global Services in Education set up and operate schools in all parts of the world. Governed by a philosophy of global citizenship, every member of the GSE team shares a passion to help shape international education and student achievement through inspiration and collaboration.
Our goal is to meet the highest objectives of every school, teacher, student and parent, with an unwavering dedication to quality education, shared ideals and intercultural perspectives.

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