Sharon Hague believes that business is for everyone, and in this post, she shares her thoughts on the future curriculum for our #BeinBusiness campaign. As a former geography teacher, and now Managing Director of Pearson School Qualifications, Sharon has plenty to say on what lies ahead for students and schools.
Q: What do you believe are the key future education trends that pupils in schools need to be aware of?
A: Over the past two years we’ve repeatedly been reminded that, if nothing else, the future is sure to be full of twists and turns! That’s just as true for business leaders-to-be as it is for anyone else.
Many of the lessons we learn at school go beyond academia, and a growing number of teachers and students engage with inclusion, diversity and sustainability in their day-to-day work. At the same time, we’re also seeing education become more personalised, with the rise of digital and on-demand learning. This means that education can offer more and more tailored approaches that support every kind of learner in every classroom. As confidence in digital schooling increases, we’d like to see those materials and resources become easily accessible to all students, helping overcome the current socio-economic barriers that separate disadvantaged pupils from their affluent peers.
Q: How can education be the driving force for a diverse and inclusive future in the business world?
A: Students are our future business leaders and entrepreneurs – the next generation of CEOs, bosses, directors and designers – and the influences that shape them at school will help shape the communities, networks and workplaces of tomorrow.
That’s why it’s crucial that learners encounter a diversity of role models as part of their long-term educational journey, whether that’s teachers who champion accessibility and inclusivity, inspiring business leaders who strive to build representative workforces, or case studies and characters that represent a full range of abilities, identities and backgrounds in the texts they study. The sector must do all it can to support every type of learner, ensuring that, whatever business career pathway they go for, nothing will prevent them from progressing – and from becoming the next great role models for the pupils who follow their lead.
Q: How can we strive to keep business education relevant?
A: The evolution of business education never stops –nor should it. As the world’s leading digital media learning company, we’re keen to keep building inclusion into every level of learning, with effective use of intelligent data, accessible technology and more. We can’t take all the right steps for an improved business curriculum in the future, without an accurate picture of students’ experiences now.
Going forward, we will continue to proactively seek the views of learners and educators; an integral part of the constant cycle of transformation and growth. I wholeheartedly encourage students to challenge what they learn, consider how their business studies can work best for them, and find opportunities within their education to develop personally. If you’re reading these lines and want to see something different in your curriculum, let us know! The process of training, updating and bettering the system is continual one, and students, teachers and families are our experts on the frontline.
Q: How are societal demands influencing the future of the business curriculum? Do we need change, and if so, when is the time?
A: Engaging with social change and social action is so important, especially in the fast-paced, linked-up digital world we live in now. It’s inspiring to see the innovative ways that young people use to speak up and join forces; striving towards an inclusive, sustainable future for everybody. This is by no means an easy or short-term task, and the key comes in working together.
I’m proud to have witnessed how business students especially are using their subject to engage with issues like social justice and the climate crisis. These are essential foundations for all entrepreneurs-to-be to consider if they are aiming to succeed in their sector long-term.
Q: What are Pearson’s future plans to help support the diversification of the business curriculum?
A: There are lots of ways in which we’re working to make the subject of business feel more relevant and representative to every learner, and therefore more diverse – not least through initiatives like #BeinBusiness. #BeinBusiness is just one strand of our wider mission to improve how accessible business is as a career or industry, by celebrating the breadth of people behind it – at all levels.
Our focus is also on learning what barriers still prevent young people – both as individuals, and in different socio-economic groups – from embracing business as their chosen subject or career. I believe we have a duty to push for change, and we will not stop until both the subject and the industry are truly inclusive and accessible to everyone.
Pearson’s overarching Diversity & Inclusion work forms a vital part of this mission too. Meanwhile, we’re supplementing our work with business-themed events, ambassador and mentoring schemes, and free resources. If you want to learn more, and stay in the loop with everything we’re doing in this area, follow Pearson UK on Twitter and on Facebook, or sign up for our newsletter The Pulse.