Empowering learners to navigate 21st century

Anolene Thangavelu Pillay is a psychology adviser. Picture: Supplied

Anolene Thangavelu Pillay is a psychology adviser. Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 7, 2024



While emerging digital technologies, climate change and globalisation are pointing to potential societal futures, there are many unknowns about the personal and civil lives of learners.

What is known is that society should prioritise the development of its citizens by enlightening and empowering them to direct the course of the unknowns.

This article emphasises how we can perceive and quantify the relevance of education in the 21st century.

Despite our best efforts to make sense of this world, minor details could become an obsession. To develop a comfortable society, 21st century learners must aim to normalise and integrate complexity and uncertainty.

The 21st century forces have redefined and defined the world, leading to important adjustments in all fields of human transactions. Due to the adjustments, it is inevitable that there will be potential and global effects.

The perception is that education is intended to develop an individual who is artistically educated by nurturing an inquisitive mind. In South Africa, higher studies are affiliated to the global term “higher education” or post-secondary education.

A pathway to a level of thinking that could alter the path towards participation and advancements in higher levels of education and training is 21st century education’s mapping. It will enable learners to connect the dots while reading dissimilar information across fields and disciplines, highlighting the smaller details that are often overlooked.

Learners might find themselves comfortable with conflicting ideas as they become conditioned to hold two conflicting ideas in their minds simultaneously, discovering ways to appreciate each one. Imagination is essential for learners to develop creative connections and inferences, using their experience and knowledge base. Superior intelligence generally associates with more robust daydreaming.

Throughout the globe, higher education is seen as equivalent to opportunities for young individuals to explore and expand their knowledge in their quest to excel. International schools that are not traditionally international schools are committed to providing a globally connected education by offering exchange programmes, school partnerships, online communication, travel opportunities and international school leadership. Our learning processes and systems should be restructured to align with international parameters and global test requirements.

There is a growing demand for “disposable learning” to address the challenges learners are facing. Author Alvin Toffler asserts: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

Continuous learning is not just a nice to have anymore. To survive in a “flat world” requires education as the need arises to compete for work in a globally competitive virtual world rather than a physical world. Effortless, effective and affordable learning is necessary to remain literate in the 21st century.

The future of teachers and pupils is projected to change significantly in the 21st century and beyond – 21st century teachers are meant to respond to economic, technological and social changes by delivering education that prepares pupils for jobs that might not yet exist.

The requirement of innovation and creativity in many disciplines has made compliance and conformity a relic in today’s environment.

Whether you are working for an established company or yourself, the ability to take calculated risks may set you apart from the masses. However, the scientific study of human relationships finds that most individuals are risk averse or tend to favour certainty over a gamble as they might find comfort in a safe zone.

The 21st-century education might integrate and discipline pupils with skills that can withstand a rapidly changing world rather than teach prescribed content that has been chosen for its past relevance.

In light of technology’s ability to erase borders, it is crucial to learn how to be a global citizen through workshops offered globally through technology and multimedia, creating a new generation of learners into “Leadership for the 21st Century”.

The rise of “teacherpreneurs” can be explained by their ability to have modern intuition, intellectual capital from knowledge, originality and extensive cross-disciplinary education. The educators empower lifelong learning that goes beyond academics. It stretches outside the school portal and applies to the realities of the present.

They also act as guides on the side for pupils who are empowered to create their own learning by examining ethical factors such as respect, fairness, equality and kindness.

Today, newspapers, radio news, television and the internet are excellent sources for accessing relevant, up-to-the-minute information. However, the urgency of perceiving the 21st century education is being based on 20th century thinking. The term “21st century education” is the accumulation of knowledge, work habits and soft skills, including problem-solving, digital literacy, creative thinking and communication skills which advocates for schools to support pupils in their quest to thrive in an evolving world.

In a broader context, however, the idea of what education in the 21st century mirror is a matter of interpretation.

Anolene Thangavelu Pillay is a psychology adviser.

Daily News