Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference 2017
Thank you to the Commonwealth for giving me the floor to speak here regarding some of the most pressing issues of our youth today. I am Ayman Sadiq, Founder of 10 Minute School, and every day, we teach over 150,000 students free of cost online, making us the largest educational platform of a small but an optimistic nation called Bangladesh.
When I used to teach offline back in 2013, the number of students attending that class at a given time was 40. When I taught the same topic to the general public free of cost on the internet a year later, the same class had over half a million attendees. To put that number into perspective, for me to teach this same number of students by teaching a classroom of people every time, I will have to do that 12,500 times!
Honorable parliamentarians, this is the sheer power and reach of digital education today. With the help of augmented and virtual reality, a classroom can be created around anyone and everyone. We must leverage this power of digitalization to ensure that every bit of our educational content reaches every single student to ensure a level playing ground for everyone, regardless of where they belong or what their economic conditions are.
We can create the videos & content and you can give us the platform. We can teach and you can give us the access and reach. Together we can bring down the barriers to quality education to virtually zero.
Honorable parliamentarians, I believe there is a detachment between the policymakers and us, the youth – not because we dislike each other, but because we never really get to meet in the field. Imagine this: a student is sitting in traffic, but he, instead of being frustrated about it and posting a Facebook status, is maybe discussing how to solve the traffic problem with parliamentarians on a Facebook Live show? Maybe we are having a constructive discussion on generating different ideas to solve this problem even. Or imagine this: an honorable parliamentarian reaching out to us via a Facebook poll asking us for our solutions to solving the pressing issues? Honorable parliamentarians, while you have the charisma to mesmerise millions, we, the youth, speak in the language of emojis. When you are at press conferences discussing pressing issues, we are probably browsing through YouTube videos. Why don’t we bridge this gap of communication by meeting virtually? Why not translate those virtual meetings to real life ones once the bridge has been made?
When I graduated from university, I had an overwhelming realization that we need to do more to keep up with the changes in this fast moving data driven industry. The Fourth Industrial Revolution has come with a range of new technologies that are blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological worlds, and impacting all disciplines, economies and industries – Robots are likely to replace a large portion of all jobs in the next decade. While older jobs are being scrapped, newer ones are coming up everyday which we hardly even know of. I request the parliamentarians to create a curriculum that can keep up with the rapidly changing industry – a system where we would learn by doing rather than reading.
Our education system should shift from a literacy-based system to a skill-based curriculum.We should teach our students about emotional, digital & financial intelligence rather than fact based content- most of which is available on Google! There is a mismatch between what skills the industry needs and what academia has to offer. Once students enter the job market, this redundancy in education fails to connect them with proper jobs.
Out of the 2.4 billion people in the commonwealth countries, 60 percent are under the age of 30. We are the change agents and all we need is the right opportunity. We can be the first generation to end extreme poverty, the most determined generation to end injustice and inequality, and the last generation to be threatened by problems like refugee crisis & climate change. We can together work towards a world where everyone is connected to equal opportunities. Together, no barrier is large enough for us to overcome.
Teacher | Trainer | Speaker
Founder & CEO, 10 Minute School
“Be happy and spread happiness!”
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