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?”

Big Think
Sponsored by Lumina Foundation

Upvote/downvote each of the videos below!

As you vote, keep in mind that we are looking for a winner with the most engaging social venture pitch - an idea you would want to invest in.

Keep reading Show less

Why Lil Dicky made this star-studded Earth Day music video

"Earth" features about 30 of the biggest names in entertainment.

Culture & Religion
  • Lil Dicky is a rapper and comedian who released his debut album in 2015.
  • His new music video, "Earth," features artists such as Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Ed Sheehan, Kevin Hart, and Leonardo DiCaprio.
  • All proceeds of the music video will go to environmental causes, Dicky said.
Keep reading Show less

A bionic lens undergoing clinical trials could soon give you superhuman abilities

We're talking Ghost in the Shell type of stuff. 


Maybe you watched Ghost in the Shell and maybe afterwards you and your friend had a conversation about whether or not you would opt in for some bionic upgrades if that was possible - like a liver that could let you drink unlimitedly or an eye that could give you superhuman vision. And maybe you had differing opinions but you concluded that it's irrelevant because the time to make such choices is far in the future. Well, it turns out, it's two years away.

Keep reading Show less

Behold, the face of a Neolithic dog

He was a very good boy.

Image source: Historic Environment Scotland
Surprising Science
  • A forensic artist in Scotland has made a hyper realistic model of an ancient dog.
  • It was based on the skull of a dog dug up in Orkney, Scotland, which lived and died 4,000 years ago.
  • The model gives us a glimpse of some of the first dogs humans befriended.
Keep reading Show less