Soft skills: lessons to be learned from Belarus?
One experimental school in Minsk introduced new educational model that focuses on pupils' interests. The programme is project-based and not strictly divided into traditional subjects.
When should pupils learn how to communicate with others or to work in a team? Is it too early to start working on the development of key competences at school?
A team of teachers from Belarus working in STEMBridge school that opened in 2018 believes that this type of general education could contribute substantially to the preparation of the new generation of workers, ready for industry 4.0.
Soft skills are core to the new educational model.
Having worked for many years as a top manager in a multi-national company, Natalia Iskortseva, the headmaster and the founder of STEMBridge, encountered plenty of difficulties finding graduates equipped with relevant skills.
“During job interviews I asked standard questions but many candidates could not reply. I realized that most of them lack basic soft skills, such as expressing their opinion and presenting themselves,” she said.
When is the right moment to start developing these skills? “We believe that it is too late to develop them in university, we need to start before,” said Irina Vdovina, the co-founder of the school.
The second pillar of this educational concept, new to Belarus, is the professional guidance that starts from the beginning of the primary school education.
The teachers are encouraged to incorporate career content into the curriculum bringing the learning process closer to life. For example, robotics and coding are the lessons, where the kids learn about IT technologies and tools. The adoption of digital technologies is placing new demands in terms of skills on the labour market.
Learning to learn
The third pillar of the model is enjoyment. The motivation of the learners is in the very centre of the school’s priorities. “Our first victory is that children come here with joy,” said Ms Iskortseva.
Torino Process launch in Belarus
The Torino Process is a periodical assessment exercise measuring the effectiveness of lifelong learning system reforms in EU neighbouring countries. The core objective of the Process is to provide national policy makers with evidence that would facilitate the decisions on how to proceed with the skills development agenda.
The fifth round of the Torino Process in Belarus is going to be launched on 5th March 2019.
✅ Video about STEMBridge: https://www.facebook.com/etfeuropa/videos/618242665295736/
✅ More on ETF work in Belarus: https://europa.eu/!Mb48QH
✅ More on Torino Process: https://europa.eu/!JK46ku