With YeSeul Kim, Head of K-12 at H-FARM International Schools
We’ve all heard that knowledge is power. Knowledge gives people the freedom to innovate and think freely, while contributing to the progress of our shared world.
YeSeul Kim has recognized the power of education her whole life, which is why she has kept coming back to it throughout her eclectic career path. YeSeul is currently the Head of K-12 Education at H-FARM International Schools. On the Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation Podcast, YeSeul shared her personal experiences in education and why she champions innovation as being key to the future of schooling.
In this post we’ll discuss the power of education. We’ll talk about its importance to empowering lives, how it’s changing the world, and what the future of education can or could look like.
What is the Power of Education?
Access to a quality education is one of the Sustainable Development Goals put forth by the United Nations as a key factor in escaping poverty and ensuring socioeconomic mobility.
The pandemic only increased the barriers to receiving basic education, especially for marginalized people without access to technology. Online platforms are used by 83% of countries to continue the learning process, but this only reaches approximately a quarter of schoolchildren globally.
YeSeul’s experience in recognizing the power of education came at a young age, as she described in the podcast episode.
“I’m a first-generation Korean American, who witnessed firsthand the opportunities that education can provide for a single person. My parents both had to drop out of college, even though they did really well in high school. And in the 80s, that was fine. But as they got older, and as they became immigrants in a new country, just the fact that they didn’t have a college degree meant that they lost a lot of job opportunities. They were white-collar workers who became blue-collar workers.”
Coming from this background, YeSeul’s career and passion kept circling back to inspiring others and harnessing education’s benefits for students from any background.
What is the Importance of Education?
The goal of true education is to provide knowledge that allows learners to dissect systems, develop opinions, and even strengthen character. Education’s purpose isn’t only to give children the necessary knowledge to pass tests, it helps develop critical thinking skills that help them interpret the latest news, make career moves, and become a lifelong student. An education helps lay the groundwork needed to feel confident in our abilities and helps us find our passions in life. It also teaches us to stay committed and gives us the ability to problem-solve.
Gaining knowledge doesn’t only happen in classrooms; it extends far beyond our graduation days. In the workplace, in social circles, and while pursuing personal interests, we all have the opportunity to glean new knowledge that gives our life purpose.
What are the Benefits of Education?
Now, we’ll look at some of the global benefits of education and focus on the ways that educating a child can not only prepare them for university but also for a happy and fulfilling life.
Systems of oppression exist in many learning institutions for many students. Black students are more likely to be heavily disciplined and therefore spend less time in the classroom. They’re also less likely to have access to college readiness courses, and when they are out in those courses, they experience a severe lack of representation.
Young girls are less likely to receive adequate education, with only 39% of rural-living girls attending school globally. Women make up more than two thirds of the 796 million illiterate people in the world, despite each additional year of primary school increasing their eventual wages by 10–20%.
Education, regardless of class, race, or gender, is essential to improving lives. Education is also our most powerful weapon against inequality in society. This is why investing in education around the globe is imperative.
Improving the Economy
Knowledge pays! Skilled and educated workers make more money, which drives the economy. A recent study showed that increased math skills correlate to a salary increase of $21,000 per year. Not only does this increase generational wealth but it also benefits a country’s global domestic product (GDP) and spikes the entire economy, which is crucial as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Plus, having higher education gives people the ability to secure stable careers, which means they’re better able to provide their future children with those same learning opportunities.
Education also has the power to increase our health. Studies have proven that educated people and their children are less likely to be obese and more likely to live healthy, active lifestyles. One particular study posited that health is actively deteriorating among less educated populations, which poses a great risk to society.
Access to higher salaries also enables people to purchase healthy foods, spend time cooking meals, and exercising.
The Future of Education
Emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic is undoubtedly an ideal time for children and teachers alike to ponder the future of education. But as we reconvene for in-person classes, graduations, and events, it’s important to have a technological component embedded within modern education. There was explosive growth during the pandemic for these tools out of necessity, but H-FARM, where YeSeul works, is going one step further by implementing a virtual reality classroom, giving students the ability to safely convene for learning.
YeSeul outlined her excitement: “I’m just really looking forward to the launch of our virtual reality school that I think can be a game-changer in education to increase the accessibility of high-quality education, teaching, and more, so we can build a community by using the strength of the Internet and social networks.”
Making education more accessible is in everyone’s best interest. An educated mind is an invaluable tool to help achieve global goals, ensure human rights, and truly change lives.
H-FARM: An Innovation Campus for All Ages
A completely unique institution, H-FARM is an Italian-based immersive living laboratory, campus, and platform, where innovation, entrepreneurship, and education coexist.
Established in 2005 and located in Treviso, H-FARM is the largest hub of innovation in Europe. Using a human-centered design approach, H-FARM prepares businesses and children who emerge from the campus to be resilient and future-ready.
With the goal of preparing children for a future of uncertainty, H-FARM has a unique, immersive educational experience for each student via its international community. From pitching real business ideas to operating classrooms in virtual reality, H-FARM is more than a place of learning—it attempts to bring true real-world experience into the classroom that prepares students for life beyond the campus.
YeSeul Kim, Head of K-12 Education at H-FARM International Schools
A first generation Korean American, YeSeul was keenly aware of the power of education even prior to her days at MIT, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in urban planning. In the years since, YeSeul has had many social impact jobs.
She honed her storytelling and entrepreneurial skills in corporate America at nonprofits, such as Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, and during a sabbatical, during which she created The Serendipity Stories, a podcast chronicling how life’s most unexpected moments can spark innovation.
“I really believe that the quality of education that you receive shouldn’t depend on which side of the railroad tracks you’re born on.”
Closing: Investing in Knowledge
The benefits of harnessing the power of education extend beyond the individual to positively impact communities, countries, and the global systems we all rely on. After all, education is a fundamental human right.
By investing in education systems that may not look like a traditional classroom while increasing opportunities for young people to excel in school, we have a better chance at addressing pertinent issues, such as climate change and global inequality.
Additional Resources & Links Mentioned from the Episode:
- Serendipity Stories Podcast
- H-FARM on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube
- Ready Player One
- The Fred Factor
- YeSeul’s TEDx Talk
Sustainable Workplaces Manager & Writer
Jackie is the Sustainable Workplaces Manager at Urban Green Lab, a sustainability education nonprofit in Nashville, Tennessee. She’s passionate about connecting people with actionable ways to make a positive impact on the environment. She graduated from Dickinson College with a degree in Environmental Studies and a certificate in Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Jackie worked in the nonprofit world in Washington D.C. for Ashoka and the National Building Museum.
Jackie enjoys hiking with her rescue dog, finding craft breweries, and traveling the globe in search of plant-based eats.