Education needs to make a better connection with the demands of the 21st century. International agreement has been reached on the development of skills on which education must focus. These are called 21st century skills: creativity, critical thinking, problem solving skills, communication, collaboration, digital literacy, social and cultural skills and self-regulation.
Many businesses realize that schools are important, because they educate students who can become part of the local businesses in later years. Businesses can contribute to education by making it possible for students to participate in their organizations, but also by participating in education projects at schools. Both gives students the opportunity to learn from professionals, to experience reality and to draw upon local expertise and experience. Learning in and together with business results in more meaning, more motivation and the development of 21st century skills among students. All of this makes students better prepared as future employees, which is an added value for businesses. Another added value for businesses is that such a collaboration can create positive publicity within the local community, because many parents and teachers know the involved businesses better.
Schools and businesses both have an important role to overcome some local problems. For example, if there is an increasing shortage of professionals in some fields, such as Engineering or ICT, businesses and schools can both take the responsibility to find a solution to this problem.
The Open Schools for Open Societies project aims to achieve many collaborations between schools and its community, including businesses, through the implementation of an open school approach at a thousand primary and secondary schools in Europe.
Each business can be an interesting learning environment for students. If your business wants to collaborate with schools, then the national coordinators and participating schools of this project can help to find a way to contribute.