On the Stage with a Diploma in Hand

It is estimated that about 3.7 million students are expected to graduate from high school during the 2019-20 school year.

High school graduation is not the momentous achievement that it once was, but it is still a major milestone in most young peoples' lives. It can almost feel like they get to take center stage. The fact that we still celebrate it as big (and bigger) than we once did is indication to the value we place on the achievement. But it is not the end, but rather then next step in a lengthening path when achieving one's education.

I can remember when I graduated the celebration was small. Honestly I don't remember how many people were there, it was such a rush of excitement and even a little bit of pride which I felt, that day. It was as if I made one of the first big steps toward adulthood in my life. The sky was the limit. I know that both set of grandparents were there. And before you say that is normal. My maternal grandfather could no long walk due to an old injury that left him immobile. He was in need of more care than my grandmother could provide and was in nursing. He never left the facility, but there he was beaming at me. There had been no mention that he was going to come. I had intended to go with my grandmother and take him some of my cake.

My other set of grandparents had to travel via plane to get there since they had moved to Charlotte when they retired.

I am not even certain if we bought decorations any more or if we refurbished some that we already had. Today you need to decorate with school colors, send out custom invitations that match, case in point you can find them in most color combinations, and if not you can have them designed for you. My point is that, high school graduation has less validity today but we celebrate it much bigger.

Education has progressed immensely in the last half a century. Look at the high education gender gap since 1970:

U.S. degrees conferred per year
Degrees conferred in United States since 1970 by year, degree type, and gender (2011). Dashed lines are projected. Since 1982 more bachelor's degrees have been conferred on women. First label letters: F=female, M=male. Second label letters: A=Associate's, B=Bachelor's, M=Master's, D=Doctorate and professional degree.

When you think about the achievements that we have made, how education has improved (yes, I am one of those people who actually realizes that educational system has improved) and allowed more young people to achieve higher education we can be pleased. Because, like everything worth fighting for, education is one of the most important. The struggle for our children's liberation from the bondage of ignorance necessitates the requirement for quality education.

The diploma that you get from high school was once the standard, then the bare minimum, and today? There are skills required today that were not even imagined some decades ago. These are 21st century skills as they have become known encompass every aspect of our society. The Vermont Department of Education put a list of seven survival skills together necessary for today's children.

In light of the many developments in information and communication technologies that we encounter on a daily basis it is logicl to think that such skills are needed.

21st Century Skills [Source: Wikipedia]:

  • Learning and innovation skills: Include critical thinking and problem solving as well as communications and collaboration, creativity and innovation
  • Digital literacy skills: Today information literacy, media literacy, Information and communication technologies (ICT) literacy are fundamental skills, they are encompassed by the term digital literacy and are often seamlessly assimilated from a young age onward
  • Career and life skills: With technology changing daily, flexibility and adaptability, initiative and self-direction, social and cross-cultural interaction, productivity and accountability are all things that have to be considered

This adds further expectations to students before obtaining their diploma, but it also enables them to gain the skills required for a future where digital literacy have become increasingly important. The education system has moved to meet this need, identifying the skills need to impart the knowledge graduates need in order to enter the next stage at a level which makes education and employment easier and encourage the best integration possible.

Information technologies and media have flooded the world with information at a greater pace than ever before.

Through the Internet, this information is accessible at all times. It is open, exposed but also broken up and uncontrolled. One of the most important goals of the education system is to train the students to live in a high-knowledge media society, so that they can benefit from the information that is accessible to them critically and safely. Another aspect of this approach is that it strives to develop entrepreneurial abilities in the students through, integration of knowledge and creativity through the innovative digital tools.

While graduation today isn't what it once was, as you can see it still plays a crucial role in preparing the next generation for the world that is waiting when they have their diploma in hand.

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