Student of the Future: The Dubai Experiment

7:55 pm  |  14.07.2021
Student of the Future

In 2019, in the Global Talent Trends report, LinkedIn cited the data: 92% of employers are less interested in the knowledge and experience of an employee if they are not supported by emotional intelligence, the ability to cooperate, adapt to changing conditions, etc. Deloitte Access Economics predicts that by 2030, flexible skills occupations will account for two-thirds of all jobs.

Obviously, the development of soft skills should be a priority in education, especially in the post-like world, which requires maximum stability from us, the ability to solve new problems and anticipate the future. For established professionals, there are courses that help develop “flexible” competencies, and children are even more fortunate – their soft skills will be formed within the framework of modern curricula, which, unlike programs of previous years, pay great attention to the personal and social development of students.

Such is the International Baccalaureate program, International Baccalaureate (IB), whose educational standard is recognized as the benchmark for European schooling. The mission of the program is “to educate curious, erudite, caring young people who will contribute to the improvement and security of the world through the manifestation of intercultural understanding and respect.” Schools implementing the IB program strive to fulfill this mission by creating a supportive learning environment. An excellent example of such a school is the Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai, Swiss International Scientific School Dubai (SISD).

1. Critical Thinking 

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 37% of employers consider this skill a top priority. The ability to think objectively, analytically, and impartially, abandon stereotypical perception, ask questions, evaluate the quality of the information source, correlate data with the past, current and anticipated situation – this is taught to schoolchildren in SISD, where priority is given to analytical thinking rather than rote memorization of ready-made information. 

2. Creative Thinking

In the face of comprehensive technologization, the indisputable advantage of a person over a machine remains the ability to think outside the box, see familiar phenomena in a new way, discover hidden opportunities, implicit relationships. These skills are united by the concept of “innovation” and are especially important in a post-like world that requires new solutions and strategies, innovative products, and services. 

According to mba.com, more than 62% of corporate recruiters named creativity as the most in-demand skill, and the demand for it will grow in the coming years. For example, one of the components of the IB diploma program in SISD is CAS (Creativity, Action, Service) – “Creativity, Activity, Service”. Sports, social activities, volunteering, participation in the creative life of the school (150 hours in total) are a prerequisite for obtaining a diploma. The school helps students by developing music programs, holding exhibitions, and offering a range of extracurricular activities, from robotics and gardening to discussion club and digital design.

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3. Futurological Literacy 

UNESCO defines it as “a skill that enables people to better understand the role of the future”: predict based on existing structures and trends, see risks and opportunities, prepare for the future, design it. This competence includes initiative, a responsible attitude to what is happening in society and on the planet, analysis of their actions, the desire to understand their role in the world and take an active position. 

The central part of the IB program is the Theory of Knowledge course, based on the discussion of phenomena from the point of view of various subjects, involving independent research and research: for example, global warming is considered from the point of view of geography, ecology, and global politics. Students do not limit themselves to memorizing certain topics, but study systems and structures in their interaction, training conceptual thinking.

4. Adaptability and Stability 

According to Shiva Kumari, CEO of the International Baccalaureate Foundation, the IB program “prepares students for life, not sitting on exams.” The world has changed rapidly in recent years, and the pandemic has increased the speed and unpredictability of change. In such a world, someone who has self-discipline, openness to change, the ability to rebuild, psychological flexibility, and resilience will succeed.

5. Communication Skills 

Incredible, but true: the more technologized professional life, the more in demand the ability to communicate. According to mba.com, 57% of corporate recruiters think so! Active listening skills, emotional intelligence, empathy, persuasion and negotiation skills, and human resource management are essential in times of crisis when people need help and support in overcoming stress and confusion.

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6. Digital Skills 

By 2020, 82% of jobs required digital skills from job seekers. The pandemic has further increased the demand for specialists who are knowledgeable in technologies, programs, platforms and are able to establish a remote workflow.

It was the students who easily perceived the changes because much attention is paid to the formation of digital skills in the IB program. SISD was the first in the UAE to introduce “Digital Citizenship” into the curriculum: in the junior grades, children learn how to safely search the Internet, write simple emails, in the middle grades, they get acquainted with the concept of cyber laws, copyrights, and personal data protection. SISD also offers students STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) lessons and access to innovative ICT labs to work on projects.

Perhaps the IB program best prepares schoolchildren for life and career in the modern world. The leadership and teachers of Swiss International Scientific School Dubai care about the development of each student, which will certainly benefit both the students themselves and all of humanity.

The text was prepared with the support of the Swiss International Scientific School – the only school in the region offering bilingual education based on the full IB standard and focused on the highest standards of both international and Swiss elite education.

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The school is located near the center of Dubai in a modern architectural complex, built in accordance with European requirements for energy efficiency and safety. The school is run by Swiss management and cooperates with educational and business organizations in Switzerland. The Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai is a unique project that embodies the tradition of the best Swiss boarding houses, integrated into the ultra-modern, multicultural and technological environment of the UAE.

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