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What is Character-Based Education?

Character-based education focuses on

building the foundational values that will shape the character of our students, rather than
merely striving for temporal, performance driven results. It aims to help solve behavioral
problems, as well as improve academic achievement by allowing positive values to
influence a student's decision making process. Character-based education encourages
students to engage in the process of thinking for themselves and making wise decisions not
only in the classroom but also in life. It differs from the traditional education model in that
our goal is not to simply produce more students that get good grades and perform on an
external level, but to create holistic future leaders with solid character values who will be
successful and positive contributions to society.

It has become clear that teaching skills requires answering “What should students
learn in the 21st century?” on a deep and broad basis. Teachers need to have the time and
flexibility to develop knowledge, skills, and character, while also considering the meta-
layer/fourth dimension that includes learning how to learn, interdisciplinarity, and
personalisation. Adapting to 21st century needs means revisiting each dimension and how
they interact:

“Character” (behaviours, attitudes, values) – to face an increasingly challenging world: As

complexities increase, humankind is rediscovering the importance of teaching character
traits, such as performance-related traits (adaptability, persistence, resilience) and moral-
related traits (integrity, justice, empathy, ethics). The challenges for public school systems
are similar to those for skills, with the extra complexity of accepting that character
development is also becoming an intrinsic part of the mission, as it is for private schools.

Knowledge - relevance required: Students’ lack of motivation, and often disengagement,

reflects the inability of education systems to connect content to real-world experience. This
is also critically important to economic and social needs, not only students’ wishes. There is
a profound need to rethink the significance and applicability of what is taught, and to strike a
far better balance between the conceptual and the practical. Questions that should be
answered include: Should engineering become a standard part of the curriculum? Should
trigonometry be replaced by more statistics? Is long division by hand necessary? What is
significant and relevant in history? Should personal finance, journalism, robotics, and other
new disciplines be taught to everyone - and starting in which grade? Should
entrepreneurship be mandatory? Should ethics be re-valued? What is the role of the arts –
and can they be used to foster creativity in all disciplines?

Skills – necessity for education outcomes: Higher-order skills (“21st Century Skills”), such
as the “4 C’s” of Creativity, Critical thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and others are
essential for absorbing knowledge as well as for work performance. Yet the curriculum is
already overburdened with content, which makes it much harder for students to acquire
(and teachers to teach) skills via deep dives into projects. There is a reasonable global
consensus on what the skills are, and how teaching methods via projects can affect skills
acquisition, but there is little time available during the school year, given the overwhelming
amount of content to be covered. There is also little in terms of teacher expertise in
combining knowledge and skills in a coherent ensemble, with guiding materials, and

Meta-Layer: Essential for activating transference, building expertise, fostering creativity via
analogies, establishing lifelong learning habits, and so on. It will answer questions such as:
How should students learn how to learn? What is the role of interdisciplinarity? What is the
appropriate sequencing within subjects and between subjects? How do we develop
curiosity? How do we facilitate students’ pursuing of their own passions in addition to the
standard curriculum? How do we adapt curricula to local needs?

So what is actually being done to ensure that our workforce is skilled for 21st century
success and to ensure that students are skilled, ready to work and contribute to society?

The global transformation, often called the "21st century skills" movement is helping move
schools closer to learning designs that better prepare students for success in learning, work
and life. The OECD Skills Strategy is responding to this by shifting the focus from a
quantitative notion of human capital, measured in years of formal education, to the skills
people actually acquire, enhance and nurture over their lifetimes. My hope is that schools,
universities and training programs will become more responsive to the workforce and
societal needs of today, and students will increasingly focus on growing and applying
essential 21st century skills and knowledge to real problems and issues, not just learning
textbook facts and formulas.

Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in

a given year. Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—9.8 million, or 4.0%—experiences a
serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more
major life activities

Are we really possessing good mental health? At least six individuals commit suicide every day in
the predominantly Catholic country of more than 100 million people.

"While the numbers may appear small, if not insignificant, one life lost is precious enough," said
Carmelita Ericta, a former government statistician.
From 2012 to 2016, there were 237 suicide cases among children aged between 10 and 14,
according to Ericta.
Of 2,413 suicide cases recorded in 2016, more than 2,000 were male and the rest female, according
to the Department of Health.