Most of us are aware of the fact that one of the biggest factors that is changing the face of our world is the technological advances and the disruption that it brings with it. This fact is well understood by the educational planners and educators worldwide and there is a lot of focus on coping with the changes that come with the unprecedented influence of technology in our lives. In addition to technology the other big change-maker that is shaping our world is ‘Displacement & Migration’. This aspect is not common knowledge for educators worldwide and its understanding is very low among school leaders.
According to the UNHRC statistics there are about 68.5 million people forcibly displaced in the world today. Of this 40 million were internally displaced people, 25 million refugees and 3 million are asylum seekers. The internally displaced population are those people that fled because of conflict or natural disasters.
According to the International Labour Organisation – ILO there are 258 million migrant workers in the world. India is right up there among the largest migrant working populations of the world. Most Indian migrant workers move within the country in search of work and we also have a large population that moves out of the country in search of better opportunities abroad.
The fact of the matter is that our societies are constantly changing as more people are being displaced or migrating than ever before in the history of mankind. The challenges of migration are many and very varied, it creates a scarcity of resources and job creation needs are very high. Migration also brings with it new cultures, traditions, practices, morals and habits. This poses a very unique challenge for our children to learn to cope with the changes that come with this movement.
While we are all very mindful of equipping our children with skills to deal with the demands of the future workplace and future jobs, we have to equip them with skills to deal with new people and new places. History, Geography and Social Sciences that have traditionally been taught in our schools, we need to now relook at what is the purpose of teaching these subjects and how we could navigate the curriculum to suit the needs of the new world.
There is an urgent and unprecedented need for our schools to start teaching and sensitizing our children to the fact that people are moving locations like never before. Including world culture and dealing with people from different ethnicities is a basic life skill that children need to be taught today. While the governments and education bodies wake up to give direction to the world of education in this matter, there is a unique opportunity for school leaders to work on their own plans to make this happen.
Acknowledgement of this fact by the educators is a good first step, creating events and projects in schools to make the children mindful of this would be a great second step. Including migration & displacement as part of the mainstream curriculum studies should be our urgent and ultimate goal. This will help us prepare our children to handle the demands and challenges that they will face in an every moving world.