Brain Game: What will education be like in 2040?

  • Each week, our readers vote for their favourite answer and the contestant with the least votes is eliminated
  • This week, students share their thoughts on the future of education
Kelly Fung |

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Education has changed so much even in the last year - how different will it be by 2040?

Contestant 1

As machines and computers slowly take over, traditional education is becoming increasingly obsolete. With the entire internet at our disposal, who needs to memorise the periodic table? Why suffer through 13 years of maths when a computer can calculate any maths problem faster than we ever could? So I believe creativity, ingenuity and self-care are the skills the next generation needs to learn.

Although machines are really good at spitting out facts, they lack the ability to produce art. Even in 2040, artists and writers will be just as important as they are today. Although Hong Kong has an incredible art and music scene, many of today’s teens are discouraged from focusing on liberal arts programmes. In 2040, I believe Hong Kong schools will set up creativity classes and encourage innovative thinking.

Also, self-care and mental health education will improve. In Hong Kong, 30 per cent of teens suffer from anxiety or depression, mostly from school-related issues.

I hope technology will allow them to study what they want to and set aside more time for the things they enjoy.

Contestant 2

In 2040, students may start learning at age one. They’ll learn to spell their name and some simple words. They’ll know personal information like their address and mum’s phone number, which could be very useful during a dangerous situation.

Students will also be very talented. For primary and secondary students, their compulsory subjects will be Chinese, English, maths, biology, physics, and chemistry. It’s necessary to learn the three science subjects from a young age. The electives will be, for example, game design, music production and cooking (making desserts ... yummy!).

There won’t be any face-to-face learning in school. All students will learn online from home, like many are doing now. They will only attend school for award ceremonies. This way, school will become a place where students can relax and have a good time.

This kind of system will help them to become independent and treasure friendships.

Contestant 3

There’ll be no exams in 2040; only team projects on topics that are connected to everyday life. Nowadays, exams focus on many things that we probably won’t use after graduation (such as calculus and grand unified theory). In addition, exams put students under a lot of pressure. This is not good for their mental health.

The knowledge we gain about everyday life will benefit us in the long term. Team projects require better communication, so students will learn to interact with each other from a very young age. This means social harmony will increase.

In Hong Kong, there is talk of installing CCTV in classrooms so that students and teachers can be monitored by the government. There won’t be any need for that in 2040 because new subjects like Basic Law and National Security Law will be included in the syllabus.

Contestant 4

Firstly, students will be able to learn a wide range of subjects at different times and places, thanks to modern technology. They will be able to learn in a comfortable environment and at their own pace.

Secondly, schools will adopt a more personalised learning system based on students’ capabilities. If students have achieved a certain requirement in a subject, they will be allowed to take on more complicated tasks and questions. Those who are having trouble with the subject can spend more time on it until they reach the level of the other students. This reduces the chance of students losing confidence in their academic abilities.

Finally, students won’t be restricted to classes in school. They can choose their favourite tools, such as software programs, websites, hi-tech devices and even books, to learn from home to enhance their knowledge and be ready to face future challenges.

These methods will ensure that students have a good, all-round education.

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