Education needs to evolve to meet demands of future for students

Sask Bulletin
October 15, 2018
By Jens Nielsen, Editor, Saskatchewan Bulletin

Education needs to evolve in order to meet demands of the future for students

If you haven’t been in a school classroom for a while, in all likelihood it would be quite an eye-opener to say the least.

From the much more diverse student population to the proliferation of technology, today’s classroom is all but unrecognizable from just a decade ago. That’s perhaps to be expected since education has to evolve in order to meet not only today’s needs, but those of the future–which few of us can accurately predict in terms of knowing what skills students will require.

It is not overstating it that in many aspects, public education in this province is at a crossroads, and there is much to consider as we embark on celebrating Education Week 2018.

As the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation attempts to build momentum for its Re-Imagine Education initiative, there has been a conscious effort to include a wide array of organizations, several of whom would not necessarily be considered traditional education stakeholders.

In an effort to capture as wide a cross section of the population of the province as possible, it is very much intended to be a grassroots initiative that encompasses not just those who have experienced success in the education system, but equally with those where the system has failed.

There is a strong focus on establishing whether education, in its current format, is meeting the needs of all society. This means engaging the public in the dialogue as to how they see the role of the school and education, while not overlooking the fact that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula since the needs are often as varied as the communities themselves.

Ultimately, education is far too complex to be neatly packaged into a prescriptive, arguably questionable, set of arbitrary goals that in the long run won’t serve the intended purpose of the education system. Statistics and data can never be the sole formula for success when it comes to education. The primary goal must always be to produce well-rounded citizens.

The reality is that many of the factors that contribute to student success (or lack of same in some instances) are well outside the purvey of the school itself. Societal ills such as poverty and inadequate housing, for example, cannot be dismissed as mere external factors since they cannot be separated from a student’s ability to navigate the education system successfully.

Premier Scott Moe has said that “not a wheel turns in the province without education” and that is undeniably true. Ironically though, it’s a simple statement with a complex and often challenging task of how do we enhance the education system.

Ideally, by working collaboratively the future can somehow unfold the way all society can benefit from. Education is far too important to be considered an expense more so than an investment. It would be in everyone’s best interest to keep that poignant message foremost in our thinking–not just during Education Week, but all year round. Most assuredly, it is worth our collective interest and imagination. There is rich potential to contribute to our future.