There’s an advert on the radio at the moment which says that most of what your children will learn at school will be irrelevant by the time they leave. Certainly we live in a rapidly changing world but I am not sure the advert’s hypothesis stands up to close scrutiny. Basic skills like reading, writing and arithmetic will always be in demand. However other skills are becoming increasingly important…
The ability to discern fact from opinion has become increasingly important as we are provided with a wealth of opinions via social media and the internet. In times gone by we would not have had access to such a wide variety of opinions and now, without knowing those offering them, we need to develop ways to validate them. I would like to see schools providing students with tools to help them assess and analyse opinions from a relatively young age.
Another skill would be practical maths. It is all well and good being able to calculate the circumference of a circle or the volume of a cylinder but in terms of a skill which will be of regular use in the majority of adult lives: the ability to balance a bank account or household finances would be very practical. As would an understanding of how credit cards and other borrowing works.
With the rolling back of the social security system in developed countries many adults recognise the need to provide for themselves in the event of sickness and in retirement. Therefore a general understanding of why this is important and what options are available should be taught to children. Children are unlikely to learn from any mistakes their parents made as often parents are not keen on sharing this with their offspring, or perhaps not until it is repeated. Lessons from school would help individuals plan and avoid potential pitfalls, such as leaving it too late.
The ability to discern opinion from fact is particularly relevant in financial services. Here due to the intangibility of the products the buyer of a financial service may not know whether they made the right choice until after they buy the product, or possibly until the product comes to an end. This is very different to most other buying experiences. Additionally, the financial commitment to a retirement plan for instance can be one of the largest commitments made during a person’s lifetime, so it is important to get it right.
I hope the above is of some assistance, if you have any questions, comments or concerns please let me know.