In an ever-evolving world, where fundamental technological transitions and shifting societal needs are shaping our future, how can we equip our children with the skills they need to thrive? You might answer, "Education 4.0." But that’s only part of the solution. So, what is the solution? Reimagining the entire educational ecosystem. Sounds radical? Given the pace at which we are changing the world in general and businesses, we owe it to our next generations – to Gen Z, Alpha and Beta -- to make radical shifts in mindsets and systems.
As educators, we must rework our existing curricula, and as parents, we must develop a growth mindset at home, to ensure that our young learners are ready to tackle the umpteen, unforeseen challenges and to unlock a plethora of unexpected opportunities that emerge in an unknown, unpredictable, technology-driven job market of the future. So how exactly can we prepare our children for the currently inconceivable shifts in employment and self-employment landscape?
We conducted a survey, entitled “The Future of Learning UAE”, at Citizens School Dubai to find some answers. The survey’s findings shed light on the skills parents deem essential for their children's success, with entrepreneurship emerging as a key focus area. The findings reflect the aspirations of parents for their children's future. Almost half (46%) of parents believe entrepreneurship should be taught in schools. This recognition underscores the growing urgency for cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset from an early age.
The importance of fostering a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem is also apparent from the UAE government’s introduction of and unwavering commitment to multiple entrepreneurship-focused initiatives such as the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund, the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development and more. Through these programmes, our visionary leaders aim to diversify the economy and transform the UAE into a hub for innovation and a magnet for investments and talent.
In a similar vein, at Citizens School, we embrace entrepreneurship as a cornerstone skill and one that is essential to incorporate in the local academic curricula. We don’t want our children to see entrepreneurship as a distant dream that only their ‘lucky’ or special peers can achieve. Entrepreneurship is no longer a dream but an essential part of our skillset. We want our children to fully embrace a healthy entrepreneurial mindset -- the optimism, the insatiable need to create or find efficient, people-centric solutions, the lifelong quest for knowledge, and more -- whether they choose to grow their own businesses in the future or become intrapreneurs. We believe teaching kids to be entrepreneurs will help build a more prepared workforce of the future. Here’s how:
1. By instilling a growth mindset – We need to emphasise on the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through effort and learning. This mindset will encourage learners to embrace bottlenecks, persist in the face of setbacks, and continuously seek opportunities for improvement. By nurturing this mindset, we can better equip young learners to adapt, upskill, and grow in highly dynamic and transitional work environments.
2. By making failure less intimidating – One of the key points we need to focus on when addressing our learners is the importance of failure. By accepting failure as an inevitable but key part of the entrepreneurial process, our children will grow to be less averse to risks and failure and have the much-needed confidence to innovate and pursue revolutionary and groundbreaking ideas.
3. By fostering critical thinking and problem-solving skills – We must teach our young entrepreneurs to identify and analyse problems, think creatively, and develop innovative solutions. These skills are invaluable in the workforce, where complex challenges require individuals who can approach problems from diverse perspectives and consequently, design effective and sustainable solutions.
4. By encouraging children to take initiative – We should motivate our young learners to identify opportunities, set goals, and take proactive steps towards achieving them while assuming ownership of their ideas and actions. Instilling a sense of responsibility and self-motivation can help our learners take charge of their careers, exhibit leadership qualities, and drive their own success in different aspects of their lives.
The Next Step: Let’s integrate entrepreneurship education into our schools’ curricula, and provide a solid foundation for innovative thinking, adaptability, and a sense of agency in our children. As parents and educators, we must join hands to foster a generation of creative, resourceful, and resilient individuals who have the tools to navigate the challenges and complexities of an ever-changing professional landscape.
Written by: Dr Adil Zarooni, Leader of Entrepreneurial Teams & Founder Citizens School