Is Education Able to Keep Up with an Innovative Society? – Creel Price | Engenius

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Is Education Able to Keep Up with an Innovative Society?

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If you were to research the history of education and compulsory schooling you would discover that the big financiers and influences were Industrialists such as Andrew Carnegie and John D Rockefeller. In the US by 1915 those two alone spent more money on ‘education’ than the entire US government. Their mission was not to educate kids to become scientists, politicians, artists, doctors, musicians or businessmen but to, “organise children and teach them to do in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way.” They believed that ‘schooled ignorance was more useful than unschooled stupidity’. In the middle of the Industrial Revolution when a huge workforce was needed to do very specific, often dull, dangerous and repetitive jobs that logic probably made sense.

Fast forward almost 100 years and most of the factories have long gone, the ones that are left have been automated and modernised as a result of the Digital Revolution. The type of work that school was designed to get kids ready for is how almost exclusively done by machine. We live in a very different world and yet the school system has not adapted to accommodate the change in any real, substantial way.

We require a re-design of schools to prepare kids to enter today’s world not a world that no longer exists. Half the jobs that our children will do in the future don’t even exist today. Plus we need to encourage them to consider how to create their own jobs as ‘free agents’ or create their own businesses rather than waiting for someone else to offer them a position.

This is the reason we created Club Kidpreneur – a not-for-profit social enterprise inspiring primary aged children to become more entrepreneurial and use the power of business as a force for good. In an age of rapid innovation and change we need to be equipping kids with transferable life skills not fact based information that is often out of date by the time it’s taught.

We have witnessed time and time again how getting kids involved in entrepreneurial activities deliver these crucial skills by developing a child’s:

  • Creativity and innovation
  • Self-esteem and confidence
  • Interpersonal and communication skills
  • Problem solving
  • Resilience and determination as they learn from success and failure
  • Responsibility and motivation
  • Team work and collaboration which also develops their emotional intelligence
  • Social and ethical awareness
  • Planning and Decision Making

There are skills every human being needs and will always need. Plus getting kids involved in business gives them hope for their future. For example we ran a Club Kidpreneur program in an area that has the highest rates of generational unemployment, drugs, crime and prostitution in Australia. Girls who were identified as being at risk of disengagement from school, family and community were invited to participate. Watching these girls go on a journey over the four day holiday program from feeling like they didn’t have anything to offer the world to discovering that they could create a product they were passionate about and that people would pay for was extraordinary!

Critics often believe that business fosters greed and yet these girls didn’t want to keep a cent of what they made. You should have seen their delight when they were personally able to deliver a giant cheque for $1000 to the Westmead Children’s Hospital Too often kids from difficult backgrounds or those that are not athletic or academic or artistic fall through the cracks of traditional education, and yet business doesn’t discriminate!

The way success is currently defined is way too narrow which leaves too many young people believing they have nothing of value to add. THEY DO… WE ALL DO. Ironically it is often these individuals that are the most entrepreneurial. All they need is to be given the opportunity to express themselves through a different creative outlet.

If we provide an opportunity for kids to experience business in real life, we can help them see the value in creating sustainable businesses focusing on creating needed products and services that employ people and treat them well, that support their communities and look after the environment, move away from the singular focus of delivering shareholder value and use the power of business to speed up positive social change.

Creel Price

Chairman | Club Kidpreneur Foundation

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