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Reskill and retool children to be future-ready: Expert
By Imran Mojib January 31, 2019
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DUBAI: Technology is changing everything. Topics like Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality have become talk of the town. But, many people are afraid that technology will take over.

“People are scared because they are not ready to face the future. They are not ready because future subjects are not taught in schools. We have to reskill and retool ourselves to be ready for the future,” said Omar Farooqui, Founder & Chief Innovation Officer of Coded Minds.

Coded Minds is an alternative education platform that promises to change the way education is imparted, the way subjects are taught. It promises to teach every subject without text books. Students will learn through practical, be it traditional subjects included in the curriculum currently in practice or subjects that have not been included in the current curriculum yet.

Farooqui said that the education system practiced today is outdated. It needed to be revolutionised so that the next generation will be ready to take on the challenges of the future.

“We must take our example, we learnt so much theory, we sat for the test and we forgot. Why should we continue with the same?” he asked.

Launched in the UAE over a year ago, the Coded Minds has already partnered with over 50 schools in Dubai, expanding fast to Abu Dhabi and other emirates. By September it is expected to partner with over 100 schools.

Currently, it has partnered with schools to teach subjects like Coding and Robotics in addition to the current curriculum. However, it is planning to scrap the curriculum currently in practice and include the subjects of future technology in the curriculum.

“The subjects we teach are the subjects of the future, namely Coding, Robotics, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics). Same subjects are taught but in different ways, by different means, with real life practical example. All our subjects are taught practically and with heavy technology into it. No text books, no theory,” he said.

“Just like cloud computing, we are school in the cloud. But we aim to launch our physical campus in near future. You can call it school of the future, because we will be teaching subjects of the future,” he said.

Education system

Farooqui stressed that parents need to change their mindset to realise that the education system prevailed currently is over a century old. There is a need to introduce a new system, something to which kids could relate to. A system that will give power to the kid to be in-charge of his life. So that he decides his career path.

“Why should we have a fixed curriculum for a set of children, while knowing that no two children are same? Why shouldn’t we teach philosophy at an early age instead of leaving it for universities, while philosophy teaches us critical thinking, emotional intelligence, character-building,” he asked.

“Let children play, let them be free, let them think, let them create, let them make mistakes, empower them to decide. That rotation of memorisation and testing, memorisation and testing, needs to be changed. That system of memorisation and testing must go,” he stressed.

The Coded Minds cater to children from the age of four to sixteen. These classes are not by grades. It has divided children in groups of 4-6, 7-9, 10-13 and 14-16 years old. But they don’t need to stay in the same group. If they are ready to move to the next group, they can go.

Within each group, it has subgroup of students who work in groups of three-four students working together. Being together they automatically learn teamwork, empowering each other, mentoring each other. This doesn’t happen in traditional classes, where everyone follows the teacher, study for the test.

“In our system, after every course the children come up with a project. With doing these projects they learn critical thinking, emotional intelligence, logical thinking, all of these are very important,” said Farooqui.

Coded Minds is in the process to establish its own academy where traditional books will not be found. It is also planning to expand to 13 countries, starting with Saudi Arabia next. India and Pakistan are on top of the list.

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