How Can We Improve Our Education System – The Fourth Industrial Revolution is set to define the 21st century, offering possibilities to connect billions of people around the world through mobile devices and the Internet.
This is an exciting prospect, but it also means that traditional pedagogy, often based on learning specific information or mastering a single skill, is no longer required to prepare future graduates for the world outside academia. Not enough. Employability today requires more and more employees to respond to complex challenges through critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration.
How Can We Improve Our Education System
What are the 21st century skills every student needs, according to a World Economic Forum article? Personal qualities that are becoming increasingly important in the modern workplace include self-awareness, emotional intelligence, flexibility and adaptability, willingness to learn, lifelong learning and stress. Tolerance.
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The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is a poignant example of the importance of these traits, as many people in Cambodia and around the world have lost their jobs, especially in the service and hospitality sectors. Perhaps now more than ever, people need flexibility and adaptability to adapt to the new normal, find a new job, possibly in a new field, and grow in the face of unprecedented challenges.
Industry leaders in Cambodia are already emphasizing the need for an agile workforce with soft skills that are useful for a wide variety of roles. Meeting this need requires an education system and teachers that promote new types of learning at all grade levels.
Teachers are a central part and a role model for developing curiosity, patience, leadership, social and cultural awareness and above all a lifelong learning mindset in students. In order for students to adapt and gain important life skills, teachers must have applied knowledge of these skills. Their lessons should focus on practical skills by connecting students to everyday life, developing competence in the key areas of critical thinking, adaptability, creativity, problem solving and communication.
Cambodian teachers should be given more opportunities to participate in professional development programs outside of their classrooms. The modern economy favors those who wish to further their education, and teachers are no exception. By developing their own skills in these futuristic areas, teachers can improve their abilities to engage in 21st century learning, use information and communications technology (ICT), and share leadership practices with students.
Is Education Still The Answer?
In addition to providing a safe environment for students to develop their minds, the public education sector also plays an important role as the foundation of Cambodia’s human resource development, equipping students from an early age with age-appropriate skills that can lead to social success. conform to the changes.
Considering their great importance to society, teachers in today’s world need to be especially versatile and flexible, ready to adapt to a rapidly changing world. But for the most part, not much has changed to maintain that Cambodia’s education system still mainly practices traditional pedagogy that favors memorization and reciting facts over actual problem solving.
In recent years, the Royal Government of Cambodia has set a number of priorities for human resource development as a goal of public education, and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) has set priorities for teacher qualification and labor market skills training are of. ,
In its guidelines, the ministry has emphasized on improving school pedagogy and continuing professional development of headmasters and teachers. MoEYS has created a more decentralized system for primary schools, placing school education in a more local context and thus better adapted to local needs.
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MoEYS also focuses on ICT integration of teaching and learning – a process that aims at information sharing across the education sector.
In post-secondary higher education, the ministry is also focusing on increasing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) resources in response to the implementation of the Kingdom’s 2015-2025 Industrial Development Policy, an ongoing plan to modernize the economy. Is. Shape. In relation to higher education, the ministry also promotes lifelong learning and a number of goals of equality and inclusion.
These youth leaders look to mobilize resources, build basic numeracy and literacy skills, and expand student outcomes – including grit, a growth mindset, creative problem solving.
NGOs also strive to improve education and collaborate with MoEYS in issues related to teacher training and continuing professional development.
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Teach for Cambodia (TFC), an organization that works with the Ministry of Education and global programs such as Teach for All (TFA), develops local youth into educational leaders who work full-time in public schools. The national organization partners with TFA to design and implement five-week in-home training programs for its young teachers, known as TFC Fellows, that focus on growth mindset and pedagogy.
Fellows are trained to inspire and expect the highest from students. This includes helping students develop important skills, attitudes and mindsets. Furthermore, to ensure the continuous learning of fellows’ skills, TFC offers the Master of Curriculum and Teaching program at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, which aims to create and implement an innovative approach to teacher education.
The master’s program trains TFC fellows with the research skills, pedagogical techniques, curriculum development, and academic content needed to become 21st century leaders in education. Its benefits spread to the classroom, helping teachers more effectively train their students as human resources.
Monirath Siev, founder and CEO of Teach for Cambodia, told me: “These young leaders are looking to pool resources, build basic numeracy and literacy skills, and expand student outcomes – including rationality, a growth mindset and Creative problem solving is involved. These are important. The future of education and the future of work and the basis of the digital economy.
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In 2018, the organization began placing fellows in schools across Cambodia. So far, more than 60 fellows have participated in the program, including myself, working with thousands of marginalized children.
“We have many success stories from our partners because they provide students with access to life-changing opportunities,” Monirath said. “In the rural community of Kandal, three 2018 Fellows collaborated to raise funds and build the school’s first computer lab, design computer curricula and teach students. Many had never touched a computer before.”
Monirath also mentioned the story of a boy named Thengsreng Chhor who was a teacher at Chesim Churichongwa High School in Phnom Penh. Thiangsareng’s students had never learned about IT, but under his mentorship, they completed a coding coursework (Coding CAT) and eventually joined the World Robotics Olympiad. Thengsreng students then organized their own STEM demonstration at the school and used leadership to mentor the younger students, creating a ripple effect through the community.
TFC is also partnering with private transport and courier service DHL Cambodia on a number of youth employment projects, one of which is the upcoming DHL Youth Camp, a program focused on sustainable leadership of the future. At the camp, 26 students from Kandal Province immerse themselves in a community of professionals, learn about the environment and sustainability, and acquire basic employability skills such as CV writing, job interview techniques, teamwork and communication.
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But these skills aren’t the only ones needed for a career at DHL, as Cambodian telecom company Smart Axiata and ABA Bank, leaders in Cambodia’s fintech sector, told me these and other soft skills are vital to their businesses. ,
Representatives from both the companies said that they are looking to hire people with the right mindset and values such as personal growth, drive and self-leadership. On the technical side, delegates listed comfort with new technologies, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, and design, adding that future job opportunities are shifting to these areas.
“With the above-mentioned skills and especially the mindset, people can reposition themselves for possible future uncertainties,” said a representative from Smart Axiata.
It is clear that when the world is progressing so fast, the traditional education of learning specialized knowledge is becoming weak.
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In 2015, the World Bank classified Cambodia as a lower-middle-income country. But the national goals go beyond this, and state leaders have set a vision for the country to reach the upper middle income level by 2030.
For this to happen, the country must move towards a more valuable economic model and our education and people will adapt to it. In recent years, Cambodia’s banking and finance sector has grown rapidly, and boosters of the ICT sector say the sector has been able to “leapfrog” old technologies to modernize more quickly. Such a change would shift jobs to science, engineering and technology sectors, which require mastery of soft and technical skills that are currently lacking in the education system.
With this in mind, it is clear that as the world moves so rapidly, the narrow techniques and outcomes of traditional pedagogy will diminish. Education systems and teacher education programs need to be updated quickly to adapt to this new world of change – focusing on soft skills such as adaptability to help prepare students for the evolving workplace.
Phannaro Nam is a teacher from Cambodia and is currently teaching mathematics in a public school in Phnom Penh. Naro is also a reporter for Globe’s Khmer-language affiliate publication, Focus-Ready for Tomorrow, which covers stories on health, LGBT issues, and more.
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