While the Federal Government has a target of 90% of students completing year 12 by 2015, many schools have already surpassed this. And while the average young person is spending more years in formal education than ever before, with tertiary education rates similarly increasing, for today’s students, education is no longer life-stage dependant (at the start of life, before the career commences), but a life-long reality. Not only have students changed, but also their schools with a shift from a teacher centred to learner adaptive, from content driven to engagement focused and from formal delivery to more interactive environments.
Flexibility is the buzz word in employment today and the workers of the future, Generation Z, are starting young. With online education growing in popularity, the next generation of Year 12 school leavers may complete their HSC online, spending less time in the traditional classroom and more in a cafe or their home. Gen Z is likely to be our most entrepreneurial generation yet, with the flexibility of their high school years allowing them to start up their own enterprises at a younger age. Smart phones and similar portable technologies also allow these young digital natives to craft apps and other money-making ventures.
In a world where 90% of the data has been created in the last two years alone, the shelf life of education has never been shorter. The focus is shifting from content to process, from the information itself to the means of gathering, analysing and applying the information.
Education is obviously a key point of concern for Gen Z’s. Key to a great education, according to Gen Z, is the integration of sport in schools. When asked what they felt was more important – sports or academics – 22% of Gen Z’s opted for ‘sports,’ 29% chose ‘academics,’ and almost half or respondents (47%) felt both were equally important. In a similar survey, when asked on their opinion on whether schools should have more sport, 90% strongly agreed.
Based on today’s average teen, today’s vocationally mobile, entrepreneurial, and truly global Generation Z will have 17 employers across 5 separate careers, working in jobs that don’t even currently exist.