Put emphasis on developing character

After reading the commentary on artificial intelligence ("Dealing with AI and job displacement"; May 2), I began to wonder whether, as a student, I was being equipped with the skills needed for the future.

Technical innovations mean that the necessary skill sets for the 21st century are constantly being updated.

Creativity, curiosity and adaptability are more important than refining the "art" of mass memorisation and regurgitating facts, as knowledge is rapidly becoming a commodity.

Not only do we require knowledge and technological skills, but we also need to be equipped with the skills that enable us to work with others.

While innovators such as Tesla and SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk are vital, behind every successful man is a team that works to achieve a common goal.

A successful curriculum should put emphasis on character development, which cultivates strong social skills, allowing students to understand the importance of creating communication channels for cohesive collaboration.

Cultivating soft skills - such as an inquisitive attitude, the ability to dream, a resilient mindset and an empathetic heart - is much easier said than done.

While looking into our current school system, perhaps we should look towards creating an environment that gives every child, regardless of his previous accomplishment or lack thereof, a chance to build his self-esteem.

Hoong Jun Ray, 14, Grade 8 student

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2016, with the headline 'Put emphasis on developing character'. Print Edition | Subscribe