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Let's start with education reform!

Education reform--> Bridging the gap between “What schools are teaching?” and “What companies require?”--> Experiential Learning --> Mentorship

Photo of Sagar Tandon
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I am very new to OpenIDEO and very inexperienced in terms of designing any solution. So, I thought of connecting some of the pieces which I deduced from others insights and stories shared on OpenIDEO.
What all we need if we want to build better employment opportunities? We need to think like a student which I can easily do because I am a recent graduate (done my studies in Engineering and now trying to connect pieces to solve some of the complex social issues and social innovation problems) because as I have learned from Design Thinking class, we need to have a journey map. And if I try to visualize that journey map, then we need to start from Kindergarten.
How kids at kindergarten learn? How to generate intrinsic motivation for learning, critical thinking, problem solving, asking (good and bad) questions, etc?
If we can answer them, If we can answer the Why part of it not just the ‘What’ and ‘How’ part of it?
We may conclude some good conclusions about education reform which is more innovative, inclusive and impactful in terms of society, business, learning and spirituality.
As Vincent Hunt rightly pointed out in his insight "The little bit of creativity that could" “One of the biggest challenges that a young person has to face is the relentless pressure of his industrial school system; which in large part, doesn’t foster creativity”.
So what’s the solution- We need to embrace the diversity and realize that all students are not same, we can’t tests them on some generalized assumptions and standardized factory model tests because they are not burgers they are humans.
And then Kedar Iyer shared an awesome TED talk by Sugata Mitra on “School in the Cloud Project” where he argues we can make a learning hub in India, where children can explore and learn from each other using resources and mentoring from the cloud and which can solve the problem of skill gap.
When we talk about education, we sometimes forget about practicality and the market existing. And if we can’t bridge this gap between “What students are learning?” and “What companies want?” then we can solve this problem. So, I really like the idea of Gap Jumpers which “match organizations to future employees around an actual brief that shows skills, know how approach and both soft & hard skills” as quoted by Sina Mossayeb in Hire Based on solving a challenge not static Background info as static CV/resumes can’t communicate with humans but solving a challenge can, so it adds human element in recruitment also.
But as far as I could deduce this may help us to employ students who are left brain thinkers but what about students who are right brain? Can we do something to add their experience and can we connect somehow of their knowledge with practical experience. Some of the articles raise this issue e.g.
The Millennial Trains Project by Leigh Cullen which enables participants and virtual audiences to identify, evaluate and explore emerging opportunities and challenges in communities where train stops while advancing a project that benefits, serves and inspires others.
Micro Employment by Jenny Comiskey in which she talks about building working experience for students and advancing some they care about in a way that better matches with their uniques skills and interest (not just volunteering or odd-jobs).
No experience is ever wasted by Valeene Wilson used a Oprah’s quote “No experience is ever wasted. Every experience has meaning".
But beyond all this we need to focus on creating a space or a platform where students can find mentors or role models somewhat similar to MERLIN Programme (mentioned by Khin Tye- Positive Role models for work and employment) as we need role models who can speak more about 21st century jobs. If we can make these role models (intrapreneurs, infrapreneurs or entrepreneurs) more accessible to our youths then we can channelize their thoughts, aspirations, dreams, ideas into right direction where they not only follow their passion but also learn about business ethics and moral values.  We need more role models which can act as educators, mentors, buddies, etc. This creates a support system where youths can directly interact with their role models. 
My insights are still naïve and not that fruitful but I believe we need to start talking about employment in terms of education reform, bridging the gap between “What schools are teaching?” and “What companies require?”, providing them right experience in terms of internships or some other valuable experience and then providing them right mentorship can really help us to create a workable solution.

I am not talking about a solution, I am just trying to connect different pieces I found on OpenIDEO platform and present a hypothesis out of many hypothesis which can exist to solve or curb this problem of unemployment. 



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Photo of An Old Friend

Sagar, your idea of education reform fits well with mine although mine goes beyond reform in education reforms in schools and Universities. I think sandwiching your thoughts with what I have in 'Fresh Ideas for Success' would be great if we want to find sustainable solutions to the challenge of educated youth.

Photo of Guy Viner

Alex + Sagar- Agreed! Here's the link...

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