A recent BBC article highlighted how education needs to adapt to future career opportunities of students, who are likely to have a “portfolio career”. The term “portfolio career” was coined in the late 80s, however until recently the idea was more theory than practice. Now that technology has created more opportunities in the world’s economy—think Grab, Instacart or Taskrabbit—the micro-job concept is the future for present day students.
An estimated 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in jobs that don’t exist now. The International School Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC) has already started preparing for this, “Being a full International Baccalaureate (IB) school with three programmes from Primary to Diploma, we already deliver a fully-rounded curriculum” said ISHCMC Head of School Adrian Watts. “In the IB there is a continuum of interdisciplinary skills or approaches to learning skills and inquiry that runs through the program. Then you also have the skills linked with the transfer skills from subject to subject hence the IB keeps students very broadly balanced throughout.”
“The future world of portfolio careers is going to be about the ability to transfer knowledge and skills, and to have the skills for inquiry learning. These are important and are taught through the three IB programs. These skills for being a lifelong learner are going to be vital for a students future career,” said Watts.
With the opportunity to enhance the learning environment with their new secondary campus, ISHCMC is creating a school which is custom made for learning for future career changes. The new campus is, like its original campus, located in District 2 and will be opening on 10th January 2018.
“Cognita Schools Group is on a growth track and the opening of the second ISHCMC campus is part of this journey. As with all our expansion plans, the collaboration between architects, academic research and our teacher-leaders provides the spark that ensures the children in our care have the very best modern learning environments. These environments complement the high level of teaching and build the foundation necessary for strong academics. Cognita is committed to providing students with a well-rounded education that equips them for university and beyond,” said Michael Drake, CEO of Cognita Asia, which owns ISHCMC.
“The aim of the new campus was to make it into one big learning environment,” said Watts. “It’s breaking away from the idea that learning takes place in the classroom. We are creating a place where students can have thoughts and record them on a wall. They can share those thoughts and crowdsource those ideas. We’ll have lots of collaborative areas; collaboration is one of the great skills of the 21st century.”
The school is a completely wireless, linking students to the outside world and giving them the ability to connect with people beyond the school; with an iLab connecting to Cognita’s other schools in Singapore and beyond bring together to bring together speakers and students.
With the addition of the country’s first Innovation Center, the new campus gives the resources for students to work as a team, problem solving. Students can develop real life skill sets essential for the careers of the future. “By linking the education of our students with the realities of the commercial world, we are providing creative thinkers, ready for their careers as entrepreneurs and business leaders” said Watts.
The arts are becoming widely recognized as an important factor in future career options. With that in mind, ISHCMC’s new campus will have a 350-seat theatre, a black box, sound recording suites and film studios. “The arts-based facilities that we will bring offer much broader possibilities for students, both in the school day and outside,” he said.
While technology is important, the new campus is also built to ensure students have an environment that is balanced and provides opportunities for collaboration outside of technology. “We have a large green space outside the science lab, where we will be growing vegetables for the kitchens and our food technology room. This will be looked after by students,” said Watts.
Even as early as 1930 there have been theories based on interaction and discussion such the Harkness method, a teaching and learning method involving students seated in a large, oval shape to encourage an open-minded environment. As education has evolved from originally teaching by rote to curriculum, which delivers a much broader range of knowledge, such as the IB, schools are now looking more into the environment where students are taught. We will see more schools following this by creating the space to instigate this form of learning.