It’s 2038, 21 years from now, and the next generation of bilingual, responsible, tolerant, happy citizens are entering the United Arab Emirates (UAE) labour market. Positive energy abounds, high emotional intelligence runs deep, and digital and human collaboration drives innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. Change is constant in the job market within every sector and all of this is viewed as part of life in the fourth industrial revolution.

For these young people, the Qualifications Framework Emirates (QFE) has been their travel guide on their exciting journey from school leaver or national service graduate to live-at-home student, international student, or work-based learner, locally or globally. The QFE advocates equality in terms of gender, and provides access to the learning opportunities that best meets each individual’s needs; the learner becomes the trailblazer of their own destiny. But the journey, not the destination, is truly the reward, as learners enjoy the opportunity to learn a new language, play a musical instrument or practice yoga, before setting off to explore the next path. For it is the kaleidoscope of human interactions, cultural experiences, obstacles and challenges that bring the greatest rewards in life. Welcome to life-learning edutopia!

Robert Waldings, in one of the longest studies of human behaviour ever conducted at Harvard University (75-year-old study on happiness), found that a good life is built upon quality relationships not success or wealth. So how can you invest in your family’s relationships and future this coming academic year?

The strong foundation of love at home is an exemplary model for building quality social connections with extended family, friends and the community. Opportunities for your children to take on responsibilities within the family, to be loving contributors to something larger than themselves, has been found by the Harvard study to enhance the development of key life skills in later life.  How do your children contribute to your ‘Family team’?

Each day, working alongside our children, brings fresh opportunities for guiding them; do you view a failure to remember their lunch, forget their homework, PE kit or musical instrument as an opportunity for your child to learn about independence and responsibility? If not, how about empowering your child to take ownership of their situation and resolve the problem. Children need to display courage to inform their teachers and will demonstrate a level of integrity to explain the oversight to a figure of authority; life skills that are invaluable in later life for high levels of emotional intelligence and leadership.  Allow your children to make mistakes in order to create a learning opportunity.

Small ‘teachable moments’ pass quickly and may never come again. Play a leading part from home and enrich your school’s curricula by looking out for learning opportunities.  Help develop the next generation to have social, cultural and emotional intelligences to navigate the world today as well as the world of the future.  One that will be a complex, dynamic landscape that constantly changes according to economic trends, technological shifts and political movements.

Feel life’s potential this academic year and give your family the gift of the values of life long learning.

By: Zoe Griffiths BA(hons) PGCE MSc Regional Director Life Learning