Reflections from a young educator

A group of young people pose for the camera.

From time immemorial, the primary value of education has been to provide information on how to productively exist within specific environments. The etymological connotation of the term education (ēducātiō) is the process of bringing up or rearing. However, by 2050 sixty-five percent of children entering primary school will end up in jobs that don't yet exist, according to the World Economic Forum.

These grappling predictions made me think of the contributions I could make to aid a smooth transition as we approach the 2030 mark, as well as the 2050 prediction. This is a journey that I have taken for 6 years, as a teacher, mentor, researcher and co-founder impacting over 3000 students. These experiences are always making me aware of certain deficiencies within the educational system that need to be addressed. Being a 19 year old teacher made me conscious of the disparity between the work load and remuneration, which prompted me to not only appreciate teachers but built in me a need to advocate for more funding to be invested in schools and for teachers to be properly remunerated. Teachers are going to be instrumental in preparing young people for the anticipated massive economic shift in 2050. It is only logical that we invest in them.

Two years into my teaching journey, I started getting restless, discovering the dependency of the educational system on regurgitating information as a matrix to show academic prowess. Regurgitating information has its advantages, it’s the base of building knowledge, however with the current influx of information it would be much more important to teach students how to synthesize information for practical implementation to global challenges. This, therefore, requires the current educational system to invest more in teaching students how to make sense of information, to tell the difference between what is important and what is obsolete, and to develop the ability to connect the dots to form a broad picture of the world. Having this in mind, I ventured more into mentoring, first at events like the MIT Grand hackathon in 2020, where I mentored fellow young people like me, who were coming up with solutions around global health challenges.

Consequently, I mentored several projects as a Peace First Regional Ambassador, an example of this is the book campaign project that provided stationery, textbooks and library access to students at Gwanda High School in 2022. I hosted an event called the Impact Room Session, where young people got the opportunity to pitch ideas in education, agriculture, health and gender equality. These experiences made me realize the importance of giving young people a platform to collaborate, think critically around global challenges, communicate solutions and create a future they want to see. These components will help shape young people who can adapt to massive technological and economic shifts. Ultimately, being a co-founder of a social impact entity called The LA Initiative, and impacting over 500 young people has given a platform to democratize quality education and professional and development opportunities as we adapt to the volatile global space.