Ed10 digest June 2016: lessons in soft skills

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Dear Ed10 community members,

Our current school system is geared towards raising professionals, not people. The 8-4-4 system has a strong focus on technical skills, with a curriculum emphasising the sciences and, occasionally, the arts. Children are taught a range of subjects from maths to geography to physical education from as young as the age of 6. Universities also concentrate on so-called ‘hard skills’: tertiary education is all about specialising in disciplines such as law, diplomacy, engineering, and architecture.

The All Round Character (ARC) pillar of the Ed 10 Consortium seeks to balance this out by looking into the soft skills needed to make individuals all-rounded people. It is led by The School Series, an organisation aimed at teaching soft skills to young people.

Our curriculum, which we call the School Series Toolkit, evolved from the life stories of the team and is a collection of the lessons we learned the hard way. It consists of 16 soft skills – or tools – including personal branding, personal responsibility, teamwork and sex education, to name but a few. The hope is that by curating these lessons and formulating a curriculum that we can teach others, we may stop future young people from making the same mistakes that we did. We aim to better equip them to face the challenges life will throw at them by giving them the tools they need to navigate the world.

Recently, we have been looking to undertake research to collect the data necessary to revise our curriculum. Instead of drawing from our personal stories, this time we are gathering information from numerous people from various walks of life on the soft skills they deem important. With this information, we hope to be able to come up with a more inclusive and more applicable curriculum and maybe eventually, to advocate for an education system that creates people, not just worker bees. Join us on 11th June to make your contribution to this important conversation.

Betty Kabari,

Programme Coordinator and Communications Manager at School Series.

Policy

The government of Kenya has started doing good on its promise of providing digital devices to all public primary schools, a programme known as Digischools. Now that the pilot phase covering 150 schools across the 47 counties is over, all public schools will be equipped by December 2016, according to a source at ICTA.

Ed10 member Laila Le Guen inaugurated a series of opinion pieces on curriculum reform in the online magazine Brainstorm. The first installments critically explored the strong focus on STEM skills taken by the reform and the opportunities afforded by devolution with regards to language-in-education policy.

East Africa news

Kenya: The government of Kenya was granted Sh 19.9 billion by the World Bank to improve retention of students especially at the transition between primary and secondary school. Part of the funds will be used to build new secondary school classrooms to absorb an increasing number of primary school leavers.

Tanzania: Former Vice President Dr. Mohamed Bilal encouraged young Tanzanians to learn several foreign languages to boost their profiles on the job market. The speech was part of the international festival of language and culture (IFCL) celebrated in Tanzania on 28th May 2016.

On Tuesday, Rwanda signed a bilateral cooperation agreement with the Turkish government which includes a strong commitment to expanding TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) capacity throughout the country.

Opportunities

Funding: Supported by the Saville Foundation, the Pan African Awards for entrepreneurship in education reward projects based in Africa that harness enterprise and entrepreneurship to innovate in the field of education. Award winners for 2016 will go home with $5,000 (2nd and 3rd prizes) to $15,000 (1st prize).

Job: PLAN International Rwanda is seeking an Alternative Education Coordinator for the Mahama refugee camp. Deadline for application: 10th June 2016.

Events

The 2nd annual Education Innovation Africa forum is set to take place on 7-8 June 2016, at Villa Rosa Kempinsky (Nairobi). In thais year’s edition, the discussions will focus on “driving impact in private, social and PPP education projects in Africa” with a view to building innovative partnerships.

#Ed10Chat June puts the spotlight on the essential soft skills young people need to acquire early in life. We will meet on 11 June to share ideas around the question ‘What have you learned the hard way that you wish someone would have taught you at home or in school?’. Sign up here.

The International Congress on ICT in Education themed “Education Reform in the Internet Age and Education 2030 Agenda” will be held in Qingdao, China from 22 – 24 June, 2016. Highlights from this year’s conference agenda can be accessed here.

Did we miss something important? Would you like to react to any of the topics mentioned? Drop us an email at reads@ed10.co

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