Jihad Kawas is just 17 years old. Like many 17 year olds, he is still in school, but unlike his peers Jihad is also the founder and CEO of his own company, Saily. In the below TEDx talk, Jihad talks about the awkward fit current education systems provide for students of his generation. Students who have the world at their fingertips. Students who can use digital resources to teach themselves anything. And students who have a level of connectivity that many of us can’t even imagine.
For Generation Z who have grown up with instant access to information, Jihad feels that school as we know it is a slow process. A process that that leaves them ‘waiting’ rather than creating.
Think about all the waiting.Waiting for the bus. Waiting for the class to start. Waiting for corrections. Waiting for the bell to ring. Waiting for lunch. Waiting for recess. Waiting to be inspired. Waiting to get back home. Waiting for school to end. It’s almost like school is more about waiting than learning, and at the end of the typical day we don’t really have much to show for these eight hours. It’s as if it didn’t happen.
Now seriously, do you know how much more a kid can do in eight hours? Without any exaggeration a fifteen year old kid can build a business and a company in as little as eight hours and I know it because I did it when I was 15.
As an entrepreneur who has launched numerous companies and digital products, Jihad also feels that the education system’s resistance to failure fosters the wrong mindset.
The fact that I have failed at some point is really paying off. So for me, failure should not be something to avoid. In fact we should be allowed to fail more often in school. We should learn to see failure as an advantage instead of simply running away from it.
It’s not an easy model for schools to transition to overnight, but as technology becomes more and more ingrained in each generation, Jihad’s ideas, outlook and approach to learning is going to become less of an exception and more the rule.
Now imagine with me. Imagine a school where that 12 year old kid and I can learn together in the same classroom. Imagine a school where we can learn about how things work by actually making things work, and this is not only for programming or design, this goes for every other profession out there. Now imagine a school where kids don’t get punished for failing, a school that has customized assessment criteria that fit multiple styles of learning. Now this one requires most imagination, imagine if parents demanded such schools for their kids.