How Can We Improve Our Schools?
Chris Kirk, the Chief Executive Officer of GEMS Education Solutions, on how schools can better prepare students for the challenges of tomorrow.
Are our schools preparing children to navigate the challenges of the future?
“We do have a real crisis in education,” Chris Kirk, the Chief Executive Officer of GEMS Education Solutions told Big Think at the Global Education & Skills Forum. “In the developing world, in Africa and Asia, we still have so many children out of school. Often the figure that is cited is around 140 million children, some people are saying as high as 250 million children who do not have access to a school.” Even in the developing world, as Kirk points out, children are not prepared to meet the shifting challenges of today.
What needs to be done to make schools, across the world, more in-line with the 21st century? The answer lies in part with the teachers. “We need to look at the quality of leadership, quality of teaching, the curriculum. Very importantly how a teacher's empowered to plan, assess, develop their practice and be the lead people for taking the profession forwards,” says Kirk. “By doing that we find that standards can rise much more quickly.”
Today’s growing youth unemployment rates are drawing attention to the education crisis. There is even a debate over whether college is necessary anymore and worth the hefty price tag. Schools can be improved, and parents must be engaged, in order to raise children who are skilled at meeting the challenges of tomorrow.
“We know that children with engaged parents improve in their educational quality much more quickly than those with parents who were disengaged in education,” says Kirk. “This is a key part of educational effectiveness.”
With parents doing their part, schools must focus on running their operations more efficiently, investing the resources wisely, and enlisting the help of data to develop the curriculum to best prepare students.
As Kirk sums it up: “So what is it that the parents think, what do the teachers think, what do the students think? How does it all come together to make sure that we have a school that's going to continue to improve, be critical of itself and do the very best it can for its community?”
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Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.
- Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
- As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
- If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
- Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
- By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Journalism got a big wake up call in 2016. Can we be optimistic about the future of media?
- "[T]o have a democracy that thrives and actually that manages to stay alive at all, you need regular citizens being able to get good, solid information," says Craig Newmark.
- The only constructive way to deal with fake news? Support trustworthy media. In 2018, Newmark was announced as a major donor of two new media organizations, The City, which will report on New York City-area stories which may have otherwise gone unreported, and The Markup, which will report on technology.
- Greater transparency of fact-checking within media organizations could help confront and correct fake news. Organizations already exist to make media more trustworthy — are we using them? There's The Trust Project, International Fact-Checkers Network, and Tech & Check.
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