GEMS World Academy (Singapore) has introduced an innovative new program to “future-proof” students to prepare them for academic and professional success.
Think back to when you were in school, mama. Was working “in the Internet” even a concept? How could you have prepared for a career in that field? GEMS World Academy (Singapore) knows we can’t predict what innovations and new career paths will arise in the years to come, but they’ve introduced an innovative new program to “future-proof” students to best prepare them for success, no matter what challenges they face academically or professionally. From a revolutionary STEM program with Carnegie Mellon University to a new $1 Million Entrepreneurship fund to encourage student innovation, GWA is taking the lead in making education truly relevant in the 21st century.
We sat down with Head of School David Edwards to find out more about the “Future School” initiative and how it will set GEMS (and its students) apart from anywhere else in Singapore…
In one sentence, what is the “Future School” initiative really about? The ‘elevator pitch’ if you will…
The Future School initiative ensures that we future-proof our students for now, what’s next, and later on in life.
How is this better than a traditional education? Is there any quantifiable data to support the project?
Traditional education is great at getting students to remember specialist information, applied to a specific subject. This model of education prepares students well to answer direct questions in external examinations, with direct information being in their response.
The reality of the world however, is that remembering information is not a skill that is needed now; in two tenths of a second via Google we can access millions of content pages. What is really needed are programmes and a school environment that challenge students to think big, to be encouraged to take risks in developing solutions for real-world contexts, to be guided by teachers who work on skills and conceptual development which can be applied in familiar and unfamiliar situations, and to have access to world leaders and thinkers, beyond the school itself.
The three pillars of the ‘Future School’ Initiative enable us to hit all these key requirements in a manner no other school has currently committed to. Our blended learning provides our senior students with two teachers for each blended course — one a global expert and the other their GWA teacher. Our STEM programme works in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University on their significant research and development in STEM and AI. Our entrepreneurship programme brings external founders into the school for students to be immersed in a culture of business development and to have direct access to current entrepreneurs who are in the journey of launching Ed Tech businesses.
These three pillars are world-leading, are partnered with experts beyond K-12, and give GWA students an exciting pathway of possibilities ahead of them.
How does Entrepreneurship figure into the average day for a student?
We’re focused on a culture of entrepreneurship with a core value of “learning by doing”. Through entrepreneurial activities built into the program, such as shark tanks, externships, and pitching competitions, students learn the skills and mindset needed for entrepreneurial success. They then get mentorship through the on-site entrepreneurs that we have as part of our seed investment and co-working space.
Students will be able to come in and out of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center to meet and work with these people. They’ll be able to come and see what these business leaders and entrepreneurs are doing–what beta testing looks like, how a product comes to life, and more. For a kid, they’ll have a range of opportunities from the formal boot camp-type programs, through to the expectation for graduation requirements that every year, from grade 6 through 11, they go and do an externship program. They’ll partake in entrepreneurship presentations and workshops, and work with entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to life.
It’s all part of our Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center which includes STEM, Media, and Entrepreneurship in one place with the core goal: what’s the problem, how do we come up with a solution, and what are the tools and people that can help us bring that to life?
What is the most salient benefit to students from the Future School initiative?
It encourages kids to really think big and take risks. In doing so they are much better prepared for what’s next and later life.
GEMS World Academy (Singapore), 2 Yishun Street 42, Singapore 768039, Tel: (+65) 6808 7300