We all know that the world moves faster and with every passing year, and industries evolve more quickly than ever before. However, nowhere is this seen more dramatically than in the education sector. From pre-schoolers to post grads, anyone stepping into a classroom or lecture theatre today would see a world that looks completely different to that of 20 years ago.
Advances in technology are certainly a major driver, but are not the only influence. Here, we examine some of the biggest game-changers that are being seen in 2018 to date.
Laying the foundations for T-Levels
It is easy to focus on how education is delivered, but perhaps we should first take a step back and look properly at the “what” too. There has been a major push from government level over recent years to increase the range of educational options available for students, and these are continuing at a faster pace than ever this year.
Part of it is to drive educational establishments towards a greater emphasis on technical education. A government review of Level 4 and Level 5 education is ongoing, with a view to understanding how courses can better meet the demands of students and the needs of employers. This is all part of the foundations being laid for the new “T Level” qualifications that will become available in 2020 as a technically-based alternative to A-levels.
Focusing on more than education
Student wellbeing has always been an important part of the education system, particularly in Further Education, where many are away from the nest and fending for themselves for the first time. In years gone by, this has been seen as part of the “unwritten role” of teachers as educators. However, this year, taking care of the mental and physical wellbeing of students is becoming a formalised part of every educator’s duties.
This means more than just ensuring they are physically safe and coping with college or university life – important though these factors are. It also includes guiding students through other common minefields such as drug and alcohol dependency, and providing guidance on broader areas of health and fitness to counter the growing obesity problem throughout the western world.
Anyone involved in education knows that this is an area in which rules change and goalposts are moved with regularity. This year is no different, and 2018 is proving to be an important year from a regulatory perspective. At the beginning of the year, a new Office for Students was introduced, to replace the old Higher Education Funding Council, to oversee the entire educational system and ensure both education providers and students have a voice.
There has also been the introduction of the GDPR, which has strict rules on the gathering, storage and use of personal data. Naturally, this is a particularly sensitive area when the data relates to minors, so the education sector has been among the hardest hit by the new regulation.
These are just a few of the trends that are bringing constant change across the education sector. We will look at each of them in more detail over the coming months, so keep a close eye on our blog pages.