Craig and Marc Kielburger founded Free The Children, Me to We and We Day. Find out more at we.org. Their biweekly Brain Storm column taps experts and readers for solutions to social issues.
Ever think about what you'd study if you went back to school?
You can earn a university credit taking the Beyonce course offered at universities in Victoria, B.C. and Waterloo, Ont.; nude fishnet stocking not required. We're envying a Minecraft elective on one U.S. school's list of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) options.
Educators are constantly eyeing new curriculum options that will best prepare youth for life and the ever-evolving work world. Soon, learning a foreign language could be mandatory given a new Swedish study showing it can increase the size of our brains – and who doesn't want more white matter?
Students in Singapore are getting back to basics. The country, renowned for its immaculate public spaces and ban on chewing gum, has announced every pupil in city-state schools will be required to clean by the end of this year. This introduction to janitorial services is meant to "inculcate in students good habits such as a sense of responsibility and care," says Singapore's Ministry of Education.
Meanwhile, kindergarteners across British Columbia will soon be communicating in Python. That's not some serpentine speaking method out of Hogwarts, but rather an epically popular computer coding language. The B.C. government is adding coding to the curriculum in an effort to address a chronic skills shortage in technology.
What course would you add to the public school curriculum to help improve society?
Bill Hogarth, former director of the York Region Board of Education in Ontario, and former chair of the Education Research and Development Initiative
"Learning based on global competencies, or the 6 Cs: character education; citizenship; communication; critical thinking and problem solving; collaboration; creativity and imagination. When educators create a partnership with students, and integrate the 6 Cs in the teaching process, they create a framework for deep learning."
Myra Freeman, former elementary teacher in Halifax and former lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia
"Ensure the availability of fun, hands-on electives that are relevant to community service and civic engagement. Curriculum options could include student interaction with community partners or agencies identified by schools, whose mission aligns with an academic course, such as sustainability in the food sector."
Bruce Lawson, president and CEO, The Counselling Foundation of Canada, Toronto
"The employment landscape has changed dramatically. The majority of the jobs that will be available in five to 10 years don't yet exist. I would add an emphasis on developing a competencies tool kit, so as manage their future."
Brian Beal, director of education and secretary-treasurer, Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board
"Ontario's new Social Justice curriculum has been developed to allow our students and staff to engage our communities at all levels: locally, regionally, and globally. We want our students to experience their ability to influence change and make a difference. It would be great to see this course offered in many schools as students turn passion and commitment into action."
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