Pact4Youth — How to scale effective education for future jobs?
I moderated a great discussion table on skills for jobs during the CEE CSR Summit in Bratislava on 14 November 2017. I also introduced there a collective impact initiative called The European Pact4Youth in which Slovak Business Leaders Forum cooperates with CSR Europe.
We need to prepare for the future of jobs
Slovak education system fails around a third of our students who at the age of 15 years cannot read with comprehension and lack numeracy skills. At the same time currently we witness a rapid technological change, where artificial intelligence might eliminate 10% jobs but will probably augment 100% of jobs. Slovakia is one of the countries that faces the highest risk of automation but at the same time has the highest number of people without digital skills. Therefore we urgently need bold, effective and scalable solutions and a initiatives that achieve collective impact.
Accenture managed to scale Hour of Code to almost 10% of Slovak primary school students
The main speaker at our Educating For the Future panel was Martin Bača from Accenture who shared the experience of his team with scaling of the global Hour of Code program to 150 Slovak schools within 2 years. They call it S(love)code. It is part of Accenture’s vision to train 3 million people by 2020.
Their key realization was that it is much more effective to train computer science teachers and organize competitions for students, than just to directly volunteer to teach Hour of Code lessons at schools.
Martin Bača and colleagues organized regional workshops to train teachers and also prepared a practical online manual about Hour of Code and related tools available at Code.org. This way they were able to scale the program to over 300 IT teachers from 150 schools and more than 10,000 students. Some students were outliers and put tens of hours into solving all the gamified coding exercises. But most of the students and schools invested many hours into exploring Code.org and completing block-based coding exercises (aggregately spending hundreds of thousands of coding hours and writing several millions lines of code). Not just the first hour of Hour of Code. As a bonus, the team at Accenture rewarded the most active schools with valuable robotic education sets. They also organized local workshops for teachers in the regions, not just in Bratislava.
Ideas from participants and their activities
Participants of the panel discussed about their activities and what is needed to boost the topic of skills for jobs in Slovakia.
The director of Junior Achievement Slovakia, Adam Šepetka, talked about how they managed to spread their entrepreneurship education program to 50% of Slovak schools. He mentioned that often they have to turn down two thirds of teachers who want to go to their workshops for the lack of funds.
Adam mentioned that Junior Achievement Slovakia plans to implement 15 projects and train 70,000 young people by 2020.
His colleague and the chairman of their board, Danica Balážová, mentioned that it is very important to build strong relationships with the Ministry of Education and advocate for changes in entrepreneurship curriculum. She also mentioned social innovation camps for teachers organized by Junior Achievement, where they brainstorm new subjects that students would need to properly prepare for the future. Danica would like to see in 2020 that financial literacy is part of curriculum and taught at all schools, from primary ones to universities. She also thinks that there should be more collaboration and sharing between various practitioners and organizations.
Juraj Kováč from RozbehniSa.sk talked about his effort to scale his “Lean Startup” course to Slovak schools, and about his vision that Rozbehni Sa will become as widespread as swimming courses for kids and one day every young person will be able “to test a business idea in 100 hours and for 100 euros”. He estimates that 95% of business ideas can be tested this way.
Juraj plans to train 50,000 young people by 2020.
Maria Babušová, a representative of dm drogerie markt talked about their collective initiative with other retailers in dual system apprenticeship education and how they cooperate to train their future workforce.
Milica Danková from Orange talked about how they cooperate with Lab.cafe in Bratislava and motivate schools and young people to get to know digital fabrication.
Miro Mihec from Slovenian organization ETIKA talked about their festivals that educate 400 kids on how to be responsible citizens and consumers. Miro Mihec is also an active member of Association of Social Economy Slovenia, which is going to begin with education of start-up social entrepreneurs on business skills like marketing, recruitment, finance etc. on national basis in 2018 with few hundred participants. As Slovenia will preside over the EU countries for Social Economy in 2018 and Maribor city was declared for European Capital of Social Economy 2018 the educational programs are opened for participants from Europe.
Katarína Nováková, who is responsible for the economic relations at the Israeli Embassy in Bratislava, talked about the importance of cooperation between universities and entrepreneurs in R&D and innovation. She mentioned also exchanges and study trips for startups and importance of education in fighting extremism.
The European Pact4Youth — can we coordinate better to achieve collective impact?
I introduced the initiative of The European Pact4Youth and suggested a goal of “20% by 2020” for the Slovak National Action Plan (that shall be created from the bottom-up by various stakeholders)— that in skills for jobs topic we could aim for ambitious, yet achievable goals like:
1. Increase the number of IT students who are girls to 20% from the current level of 10%.
2. Scale coding lessons to 20% of Slovak students.
3. Equip 20% of Slovak youth with modern entrepreneurship skills and project management.
4. Introduce digital fabrication to 20% of students.
5. Increase the number of VET students in dual apprenticeship system to 20%. In the last school year only 2% of students in vocational education were in dual system.
I think it is important to prioritize interventions that solve the most important, solvable and neglected problems and topics in the area of skills for jobs. Also the bigger the number of individual projects in this area, the bigger the chance that some of them will be extremely successful and impactful.
Accenture managed to introduce Hour of Code program to 5% of primary schools (and to almost 10% of all Slovak primary school students) in two years by training teachers to use Code.org effectively and organizing school competitions.
Such initiatives can serve as inspiration for other companies. The draft of the Slovak Pact4Youth National Action Plan can be viewed here: https://www.slideshare.net/PontisFoundation/slovak-pact4youth-national-action-plan-2020 .
If you have any suggestions what shall be the priority for Slovak skills for jobs education write me in the comments. Also you can share number of projects you want to implement in this area and how many students you want to train by 2020.
For more inspiration you can visit Business Impact Map at CSR Europe and include also your projects https://business-impact-map.csreurope.org/