The World Economic Forum identified sixteen required 21st century skills in their 2015 New Vision for Education report to prepare students for a rapidly changing world. Our public schools, and most private schools, barely address half of those required skills, focusing too much on a handful of foundational literacies while all but ignoring other needed competencies and character qualities. Data confirms that US students lag behind in information and communications technology (ICT) literacy, financial literacy, and in competencies and qualities such as critical thinking, creativity and curiosity relative to traditional areas such as language arts, math and science. In short, our existing educational system has not adapted for today’s reality and is ill-equipped in preparing students to navigate a future filled with complex technological, global, social, and environmental issues.
Skills for Success at Work
Employers consistently report that new hires don’t work out for reasons such as coachability and adaptability rather than technical competence. The longitudinal study featured here is one example of these reports. As a private, independent school, Vidya listens to the marketplace and community to prepare students in areas that matter most.
Vidya Community High School was established to erase the line between classroom education and life education, and prepare teens for life, leveraging their unique learning strengths. Our life-preparatory curriculum balances traditional subjects with a set of life-skills to develop the whole individual. Our current-events-based lessons, exploitation of readily available online multimedia, and student-centered projects not only furnish context and connection to the real world but keep the students actively engaged in their classes. By fostering a constant, respectful dialogue between peers, disciplines, the past and the present, the real world and the classroom, we empower students to adapt and prosper even at jobs that might not yet exist. As a small, private school with local board members, we are flexible and agile, ready to respond to events as the times require.