Tony Wagner, Director for Education at the influential US-based Asia Society, argues that seven core skills are needed to:
- secure and keep a good job
- remain an effective continuous lifelong learner and
- be an active participant in local, national and global society.
I paraphrase the seven core skills as:
- A capacity and willingness for continuous improvement;
- Collaboration in various networks, where differences have to be respected. This is especially vital because many modern companies encourage a culture of leadership by influence, rather than the traditional command and control structure. Here the ability to engage others through clear communication skills and the introduction of compelling ideas will be essential;
- Ability to demonstrate ingenuity, innovation and entrepreneurialism - i.e. lots of ideas and flowing initiative;
- Agility and adaptability - many modern companies and other organisations deliberately and regularly restructure, to force re-skilling and discourage complacency;
- Effective oral and written communication - it is a constant complaint of employers and universities that this is lacking. Notably, individuals should be able to write with a clear sense of ‘voice’;
- The ability to gain access to and analyse information rapidly and judiciously - particularly in an age of information overload and perpetual distraction;
- Curiosity and imagination - a genuine desire to read and think beyond usual areas of interest and strength.
We emphasise that boys will leave here and emerge as men who:
- sell to the world
- buy from the world
- work for transnational organisations
- compete with people from all over the world for jobs and markets
- work with people from all over the world within the same organisations and joint ventures with other organisations - ‘global work teams’ etc
- will be in positions to help to solve global issues which shall affect them more than their parents and teachers!
Everything we do in the academic curriculum is designed to prepare boys for these realities. Yet most of all, we aim to encourage the idea of the Renaissance Man – someone who loves study for its own sake and is excited by the connections which can be made between different experiences and areas of knowledge.