What Policy Makers Must Know About Visionary Education Policies


What Policy Makers Must Know About Visionary Education Policies

Education is the fuel that drives economic growth and social progress.

Education is a 4.4 trillion dollar industry. It’s 3 times of the global mobile industry and 8 times of the global advertising market. Not only on a commercial view, but also on artistic as well as innovative view, education is a great weapon to achieve success in any field.

As technology advances, it’s on its way to upgrade the traditional education system and also influencing the vision of educators, administrators, parents, students, policy makers and all those who relate to the educational field to work on what really matters. Despite many developments in numerous fields, usage of technology in education system still got stuck in the 20th century. As we know, 21st century education is not just about students learning the core subjects, but also requires students to possess a set of 21st century skills. 21st century skills aren’t that easy to manage. Our education system must be extremely goal oriented to develop 21st century learning outcomes. To develop creative students, we need educators to be creative, syllabus to be creative, classrooms to be creative, administrators to be creative and most important “Policy makers to be creative”. As we know, policy makers in education are the leaders who make decisions and policies that meet the demands of 21st century. A visionary policy maker is always an asset to any system as they are able to lead the system to success in an innovative and most creative path. Here is a guide about what policy makers must know about visionary education policies.

All our system needs is “21st Century Education”, but “Why”?

To the best of knowledge, “Why” is always a great question that makes people think beyond the purpose. So, I’d like to clarify to all the education leaders or policy makers the need to focus on 21st century education initiatives.

Reasons:

Technology is changing rapidly, but education system isn’t up to the mark in adopting latest tech approaches in education.

Many of the jobs students will have in the near future don’t even exist yet. 21st century students need to be trained for this. Students must become proficient in new, 21st century skills that are in demand in post secondary learning, in jobs and in modern society. Students must learn critical 21st century content that is not reflected in the core curriculum today.

According to AMA 2010 Critical skills survey, what most of the employers need in their workers are Critical thinking (97%),  Communication (95%), Creativity and Innovation (93%) and  Collaboration & team building (92%).

76% of Employers anticipate increasing need for higher order thinking skills.

With the use of many educational technologies, 21st century education includes a learning that is more personalized and result oriented.

21st century education drives not just the students’ mastery of core subjects but also the mastery of 21st century skills and content. 

21st century education is all about making a student, an independent learner.

The above mentioned are a few reasons that strongly support our education system to switch its mode to 21st century version. Also, policy makers must realize the fact that we can’t reach the objectives of 21st century learning with traditional methods.

“If we want our children to become successful citizens and workers in our global economy, we must ensure that they master 21st century skills.” —Howard Lee, Chair, N.C. State Board of Education.

Visionary Education Policies for 21st Century Education:

A Visionary Policy maker is an education leader who has a clear view of what our education lacks and a great vision of what reforms should be made to reach the current learning standards. Let’s learn about the ideal vision of 21st century education system. 

 The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has developed a unified collective vision for 21st century learning that can be used to strengthen American public schools. An extensive research on 21st century skills has been carried out and many educators, students, parents and community members actively participated to develop a sustained, comprehensive effort to create a shared understanding and common language for education.

Let’s learn about it.

Six key elements of 21st century learning:

Core Subjects:

The No Child Left behind Act of 2001 identifies the core subjects as English, Reading or Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Foreign, Languages, Civics, Government, Economics, Arts, History and Geography.

21st Century Curriculum:

To make students creative, curriculum needs to be creative. Here, there is a need to mention two visions of Curriculum. One is directly from research and another one is from an eminent Indian scientist Dr. Abdul Kalam.

According to the Partnership, the following are the areas our 21st Century curriculum requires to have:

Global awareness

Financial economic, business and entrepreneurial literacy

Civic literacy

Health and wellness awareness

According to Dr. Abdul Kalam, the 21st Century Curriculum must include:

Research and Enquiry

Creativity and Innovation

Use of technology

Entrepreneurial leadership

Moral leadership

Learning and Thinking skills:

It’s not about what students learn throughout their schooling but it’s about how they make the best use of what they’ve learned, throughout their lives. The following are the learning and thinking skills 21st century students need to have. Policy makers must concentrate on these skills to produce innovative students who not only help the organization grow but also play a key role in nation’s development.

Critical thinking and problem solving skills

Communication skills

Creativity and innovation skills

Collaboration skills

Contextual learning skills

Information and media literacy skills

ICT literacy:

ICT literacy is the ability to use digital technology, communication tools, and/or networks to define, access, manage, integrate, evaluate, create, and communicate information ethically and legally in order to function in a knowledge society.

Life skills:

Policy makers must be aware of the fact that 21st century organizations don’t just teach students to get good grades, but also train them to be good citizens for the nation and employees for the organizations. Also, it teaches them the skills required to become social as well as general entrepreneurs.

Leadership

Ethics

Accountability

Adaptability

Personal productivity

Personal responsibility

People skills

Self-direction

Social responsibility

21st Century Assessments:

Unique 21st century assessments are an essential foundation of 21st century education. These assessments must measure all the above 5 elements (Core subjects, 21st century curriculum, learning and thinking skills, ICT literacy and Life skills). Policy makers can utilize the modern technologies for effective and quick assessment. Standardized tests alone measure few skills but those tests besides using technological assessment can be a powerful tool. 

The above mentioned are a few great visionary educational policies that policy makers must know about. To make this guide more effective, we’d like to have your views as well. If you’re involved in 21st century education system, please feel free to share your vision as well as the reforms that should be made to achieve the current goals. The comment box is waiting.

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About the Author
Author: Santosh Bhaskar KWebsite: http://www.twitter.com/SantoshBhaskarK
Devotee of Dr. Abdul Kalam. Following his path of Creating Creative Education in India. Contributing my works in "India Vision 2020". Former EdTech Blogger/Researcher at ETR India

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