MOE announced earlier in 2018 how the Applied Learning Program (ALP) would be expanded to all Primary Schools in 2023.
The impetus behind this is the growing realisation that content knowledge and logical reasoning alone, is not sufficient to tackle the challenges in our modern workplace. Not that these are not important, but rather, all instances of success and breakthrough in the various markets seem to have been brought about by an innovative application of problem solving skills to address needs of the end-user i.e. the customer, the client, the consumer.
Schools offering the Applied Learning Program offer courses such as Digital Media, Engineering & Robotics, Simulation and Modelling, etc. As parents, this means that there are more choices than ever before for your child to pursue in his education.
However, there is one area that may often be neglected in how we prepare ourselves to face real-world challenges and that is to define or at least, ascertain in personal, values-driven terms what constitutes success for the individual.
Here is an example that I encountered recently from a business partner:
A local IT firm was looking for someone to do some of their programming in Python computer language for a big client project. There were 2 applicants. One with 6 years of proven work experience and one with only basic programming knowledge, fresh out of Polytechnic.
They hired the seasoned programmer with 6 years’ experience. He was able to do all tasks well and delivered according to expectations.
6 months later, he tendered his resignation and took what he saved from the job to open a cafe.
The moral of the story is that a strong indicator in how we define success is actually our values.
Our values give rise to a sense of purpose in life by fulfilling that purpose gives us meaning in whatever we do.
As we have seen in a recent social media video on the social divide in Singapore, having our children aspire to be ‘doctors’ or ‘lawyers’ because these are deemed to be prestigious professionals, worthy of respect and well-paid leads to a blinkered mentality because success then becomes measured in transactional terms.
Taking the initiative from MOE to focus on a student-centric and values-driven education system, parents should take the opportunity to explore not only the wider options that schools offer; they should also take time to converse with their children on what endeavours and outcomes they will find meaningful in the way they forge relationships with others.
At teachnlearn, we will be working to provide parents with the opportunity to develop some of these competencies with their children.
For example, Financial Literacy programs for students to learn the value of money and how to empathise with their parents on the fiscal responsibilities that come with raising a family.
“Applying learning to real-life is more than just about using what we learnt in school to find a good job or career; it is how we enrich ourselves to grow and lead a life worth living.”