Skills kids need to be taught in 21st Century.

Education is a human enterprise in which across generations, every civilization has had a stake in. Kids have to be taught skills to survive and thrive in all modes of the world. However it always has been and will always be, a subject of hot debate as to what kind of skills should be imparted to them.

To answer that question for kids of 21st century, lets take a view history first as it always is an important window to open,  to get a perspective on any subject matter.

Public education systems or for that matter any common education system to be successful has to serve two main purposes. It has to prepare kids for the society and situations that are likely to occur as the dominant ideological and social order of their times, unfolds. It has to orient them towards the culture of the day so that they can serve as responsible citizens of their times.

In other words education is a tool to skill-chisel large majority of kids for serving and enculturating them against rebellion.  To achieve this dual purpose, education is to be imparted across four domains, namely 1) Self 2) Community/Culture  3) Vocation 4) Ecology.

However in history, alongside public education system there has also been a small private education system whose main products are the ruling elites or guardians of the resident order. Their education is largely geared towards 1) maintaining and enhancing the dominant ideology 2) dealing with dissent against it.

To understand how these dual purposes were implemented via four domains training, we can divide history into a time-series  of four broad eras:

  1. Lasting till 1000 AD was the empire of land in which major thrust was to conquer large swathes of territories to forge empires. To accomplish that, soldiers and commanders were needed as tool of the state and hence the education system worked to produce those in ample quantity.
  2. Between 1000 to 1750, in European dark ages, the preeminent order was of Roman Catholic Church and the education systems, harbored in monasteries and other religious places was geared to produce clerics, priests and cardinals.
  3. Since 1750 and with advent of industrialization, education system needed to produce first blue collared workers and then white collared ones. So the dominant curriculum shifted from martial arts and theistic studies to study of sciences & math apart from basic literacy.
  4. In 21st century, as world globalizes, the need is for digital innovation, space outreach and biological enhancements. Also the social order has migrated from local to global. In fact most of the jobs of tomorrow, owing to large scale disintermediation and aggregation are not even invented yet. However what is sure is that they will need skills which previous three eras have not even conceived of.

The following infographic, a loose  4*4 matrix of skills Vs time which Sva-haa presents, is a birds eye view of the skills taught in the roll of history in both private and public education systems and is created with a purpose to highlight critical general purpose skills that we need to impart to our next generation for the world of 21st century that is visible on the horizon.

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