“In today’s global setting where information is ubiquitous and machine learning predominates, brain power in isolation is not conducive to allow competitiveness to thrive. I must, therefore, adopt the appropriate mindset to embark on my own exploratory venture amidst this brand new, complicated and invariably changing landscape.” Eight-year-old Sophia, from MindChamps
On 18th November, the international Symposium – “3-Minds in Synthesis – Educational Reform - Education for the Future", sponsored by MindChamps Preschool, Singapore’s first-tier, high-end brand in pre-school education, and co-organised by China First Capital Group Co., Ltd. (“CFCG”; stock code: 1269.HK) was held at the Golden Hall of the National Stadium, the Bird’s Nest, in Beijing. The Symposium, attended by renowned academics from both domestic and overseas educational sectors, aimed to collect opinions on how to nurture children's learning and strengthen a creative and champion mindset through scientific teaching pedagogy and practices, so that children can learn to thrive comfortably in an era of artificial intelligence.
Prior to the start of the Symposium, a short video caught the attention of everyone in attendance. In it, a student, by the name of Sophia from MindChamps gives this monologue - "In today’s global setting where information is ubiquitous and machine learning predominates, brain power in isolation is not conducive to allow competitiveness to thrive. I must, therefore, adopt the appropriate mindset to embark on my own exploratory venture amidst this brand new, complicated and invariably changing landscape. So, what should be my next plan?” This intellectual pondering is from an eight-year-old, focusing on a controversial topic about the future prompting all of us to think more deeply and investigate.
2038, is not that far off in the future and represents the year when today’s children will graduate from college and make their first steps into society. These youngsters will have to make full use of all their capabilities on the world stage. And, along with equipping themselves with the basic skills for survival, they must also have the capacity to adapt to a highly competitive future. With this in mind, we need to find answers on how our children will use effective methods and techniques to explore, adapt and achieve for themselves while thriving with essential and effective future skills. This was the keynote topic worth investigating at this Symposium.
1. The Rise of the Middle Class and their Diversified Needs on Early Childhood Education
At the Symposium, Dr. Zhu Huanqiang, Co-Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of CFCG, quoted from an ancient Chinese treatise – “The Yellow Emperor's Inner Classic” the law of life dynamics about “females at seven, and men at eight.” Ancient wisdom on life dynamics holds that – “Adulthood is predestined at age of three, while senility is pre-destined at the age of seven.” Dr. Zhu cited instances of folk wisdom about child rearing along with Judaism’s traditional high regard for cultivating a child’s intelligence quotient (IQ) and emotion quotient (EQ). On the other hand, the application of machine learning and data analysis, in today’s modern era, stimulates human cognition and thinking processes, endowing human-machines with simulated capabilities, all of which sheds light on the evolution and continual exploration of preschool education, from ancient times to present.
Looking at the era of artificial intelligence, humanity will definitely exist as being “human”, while setting a priority on the "human-centered" positioning of children. Forward-thinking scholars across the world are actively seeking effective pedagogical solutions for early childhood development. The Montessori preschool model, for instance, is a child-centered approach to pedagogy that can effectively enhance children's capability to execute. MindChamps has created the uniquely innovative "3 Minds" pedagogy that inculcates a “champion mindset" throughout all preschool education years, to implement "whole-person" development in relation to a sense of value for the future of society, while being dedicated to establishing a world-leading model on early childhood education for the 21st century. The CFCG adheres to the philosophy of – “Finance empowers education; Education changes fate.” The group also believes that at all stages of the human life cycle, early education enables the nurturing period of individual distinctiveness, or as the old proverb tells us - “A century of existence, all built upon preschool education”. At the same time, against the backdrop of the prevailing changes in the social and economic settings, CFCG works hard to achieve its missionary vision of providing children from ordinary family background with the privilege of quality education.
Mr. Wu Weiqiang, president of Phoenix Education cited “Several Opinions of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Deepening Reform and Standardization of Preschool Education” and mentioned that the initiation of the new policy on preschool education fully reflects the Chinese government directives on the latest policies for preschool education. On the one hand, the pre-school education sector within China’s education market is massive in size. According to the Statistics Yearbook on China Education, the current number of children entitled to preschool education (0 to 6 years’ old) in China has reached approximately 110 million. According to the Chinese government's plan, by 2020, 40 million children will be entitled to enroll in pre-school education; that number of 40 million toddlers is equivalent to the entire population of many European countries. By 2035, China will comprehensively mandate early childhood education for all. By 2020, the admission rate to preschool kindergartens will reach 85% during the first three years of preschool education, and the admission coverage of all-inclusive kindergartens (i.e. the proportion of state-owned kindergartens and all-inclusive private kindergartens in the aggregate of kindergartens) will reach 80%. Given such projections, the developmental potential of China's pre-school education market is remarkably robust.
On the other hand, in an effort to curb artificially high-price fixing within the preschool education sector, the Chinese government has put forward several regulations and requirements. As preschool education sector is in the process of reaching out to capital markets for financing, the process of fund-raising through capital markets has become more stringent than ever. For this reason, the preschool education sector is clouded with uncertainties, and experts consider that the preschool education market in China may be moving downhill. As stated in the new policy document, a scaling-up effort is being put forward on the development of all-inclusive education. However, from the current perspective, the number of middle-class people in China now exceeds 100 million and the expectations they have about their children’s educational development are not being adequately met by the all-inclusive kindergarten segment. As a result, this has set the stage with favorable precondition for high-end early childhood education providers, like MindChamps to enter the Chinese domestic market. The purchasing power of China’s middle-class is breathtaking, and parents’ requirements for their children’s education have surpassed those of parents from other countries across the globe. In the forthcoming future, the outlook for China's high-end, pre-school education market remains promising.
Regarding preschool education, Mr. Xu Hui, who serves as committee member of the National Education Advisory Committee, Vice President of the Chinese Society of Education Development Strategy, and chairman of the Academic Committee expressed his views on the developmental path of preschool education, the challenges and countermeasures of preschool education as well as its future path of development. Mr. Xu mentioned the importance of practical knowledge, activities and experiences, and the cultivation of interests. He concluded with the view that pre-school education will eventually move toward a: universal, all-inclusive, high-quality, personalized, standardized, and professional path of development.
- 3-Minds in Synthesis – Educational Reform - Reaching Beyond the Traditional Mindset, Never Yielding to the Ordinary
At the Symposium, Mr. David Chiem, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MindChamps, delivered a detailed briefing on the inception and development of MindChamps as well as acknowledging the concept of “Champion Mindset”, from both scientific research and empirical perspectives in relation to other relevant research. Mr Chiem also gave an interesting explanation on the application of Champion Mindset to preschool education, K12 and International schools. Discussing "3-Minds in Synthesis – Educational Reform", he put forward the notion that we uniquely experience for ourselves the entire process of education from preschool learning, through elementary school and on to high school. We play both roles of being beneficiaries as well as experts regarding education. Today, the world we live in is constantly undergoing rapid changes, and the skills we need to survive are completely different from those required by previous generations. To adapt to this new era, learners need to assimilate and integrate new methodologies in learning and redefine new paradigms in education. In today’s era of the IT revolution and an all pervasive Google, information in isolation can no longer provide us with comparative advantages. But nurturing innovative capabilities can definitely set us apart from the ordinary competitive peers. The “3-Minds in Synthesis” education pedagogy is built based upon a learning mindset, creative mindset and champion mindset. The so-called "Champion" is not defined as elite, nor the first, nor a copier of the fruitful results of others. Instead a " Champion” is defined as everyone realising the best in themselves. A “Champion” avoids yielding to the ordinary, and is endowed with one’s own unique presentation. It is having the overwhelming courage to challenge the conventional and surpass the traditional mindset while demonstrating resilience in overcoming adversity and learning from the past misfortunes and failures.
The innovative Champion Mindset course was developed by an expert committee comprised of internationally renowned and authoritative academics across the world. The course package assimilates and combines 20 years of accumulated research and developmental results and draws on the efforts of four distinct fields of: early childhood education, neuroscience, child psychology and drama. For this reason, it is identified as the most advanced preschool education model in the world. “Champion Mindset” has always promoted the nurturing of “self-motivation” during the most crucial period of growth, children between the age of 0 to 6. In the process of constantly learning to overcome difficulties and build self-motivation, children, in both learning and living, are bolstered by a positive attitude. Therefore, we flourish with a lifelong learning capability and strong cognitive skills. It’s upon this basis that we can build a boundless creative mindset.
- Adopting Psychology, Drama, and Education, a Multi-perspective, expanding horizon for future developmental possibilities of preschool education
The special guests invited to the conference delivered interesting talks from multiple perspectives of psychology, drama and education, among others. Mr. Brian Caswell from Australia elaborated on how to build a learning mindset and further mentions that before we make any presumptions about educating children, we must first understand each individual’s cerebral anatomy and how the cerebrum conjures up its unique, worldly model. Only in this way, can one learn how to apply the complex narratives that promote the learning experience.
At the meeting, Professor Larry Scripp from the United States, interactively demonstrated through musical notes his views on the importance of instilling musical education to preschool education. He added - "Imagine a world where every child can learn in-depth the common language of music that stimulates the entire cerebrum for learning, and assimilates learning experiences from different cognitive, social and emotional fields, learning from various cultures, and enhancing human livelihoods by transcending the limits of humanity’s cultural spirit."
The author of many well-known books, essays and articles, Professor Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, did not attend the Symposium but expressed views via a video broadcast link on how children learn. She said - "The best preschool education should include rich and interesting content and provide a pleasing and comprehensive learning methodology to address children's educational needs. She added that - “Play-based learning is always more effective than direct teaching."
Mr. Lu Qin, deputy director of the Family Education Committee of the China Education Society, and a renowned academics in education, shared his views on how to build satisfying lives for every child by recalling his own experiences.
Also at the Symposium, a new book launch event, “3-Minds in Synthesis – Educational Reform” was held. The CFCG, MindChamps, and Phoenix Education jointly convened this Symposium with the aim of gathering experts together and exchanging views by global academics on topics from early childhood education, and the future development of China's education sector to the adoption of technological, and innovative educational pedagogies to enhance the mindsets of children. CFCG, while embarking on a path to extensively develop the education industry, closely follows national policy directives, while leveraging financial markets to empower its educational segment. They also collaborate with many respected educational enterprises to promote quality education services so that every single child can get the privilege of receiving a quality education and become a future contributing citizen endowed with creativity, imagination, leadership, and sense of responsibility.