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The power of knowing, the ability to change

Dec 12,2018 - Last updated at Dec 12,2018

For decades, official rhetoric has overused terms like innovation and creativity in relation to education, the preparation of the young generation for the future and linking the outcome of education with the needs of the labour market. 

To be fair, there are some bright spots here and there, but looking at the bigger picture, nothing much has changed, thanks to the wrong approach we adopt in our schools and universities. 

There is a big difference between waiting for innovative, and lucky, young people to appear on the surface by themselves for something creative they have done and the making of these people. From the way things look now, we have failed in building a culture where young people, the entire generation, are stimulated to innovate and provided with the right incubators to excel and thrive.

One man seems not only to understand that, but also to act on it. In a recent op-ed, knowledge tycoon Talal Abu-Ghazaleh introduced the slogan "teaching for learning for inventing". His idea, in short, is that if we can invent an inventor and take him or her by the hand to succeed in business, these people would improve their own lives and those of the people they will hire in their projects, and also serve as role models for other youth, who would only then believe that thinking out of the box leads somewhere.

As humanity is embracing artificial intelligence and superior technologies and as history has never seen such a scale of accessibility to knowledge, what we need is an educational system that truly caters for individual differences and sheds off the one-size-fits-all teaching approach.

And as put by Abu-Ghazaleh, we need to prepare our children not for the labour market of today, but that of the future and teach them to "adapt to the demands of progress, change and future". He believes that his brainchild, the newly established Talal Abu-Ghazaleh University College for Innovation, a not-for-profit, future-embracing institution, illustrates the kind of education ambitious young people need. This includes a teaching plan that stimulates them to think independently and challenges them to invent something if they want to graduate. 

Huge assistance comes from Abu-Ghazaleh Intellectual Property (AGIP), the world's largest intellectual property firm affiliated with the Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organisation, which will guide students throughout their journey to come up with unprecedented ideas and when they do, their inventions will be protected, while the hundreds of thousands of AGIP's clients stand by as potential investors, as Abu-Ghazaleh told The Jordan Times in an interview earlier this year. 

The lesson learnt is that youth are not looking for cosmetic support and lip-service encouragement. They need a fully-fledged, integrated system of support that takes them through a maze of challenges towards excellence and outstanding success. 

Once, a nonagenarian renowned English scientist told me that Jordan needs just one good invention that is producible on a mass scale and sellable worldwide to make the quantum leap into a future of self-reliance and prosperity. The first step to that end is to make sure our young people believe they can do it.


The writer is the deputy chief editor of The Jordan Times

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