In what appears to be a rare convergence, the interests of business, academia, activism, and governance are increasingly aligning in their recognition of the urgent need to develop a world that is driven by clean technology. This alignment comes as we witness the continuing and devastating effects of climate change on a global scale. Discussions about energy sovereignty and the transition to clean energy sources dominate the public discourse, while industries are increasingly prioritizing a workforce that embraces innovative and entrepreneurial thinking. It is within this rapidly changing world that our graduates are preparing to enter.
While the shift away from fossil fuels has been an ongoing endeavor, it is clear that simply moving away from old practices is no longer sufficient. Traditional solutions like carbon credits and catalytic converters, which were aimed at maintaining our existing way of life, have proven to be limited in their effectiveness. In order to truly address the challenges at hand, we must now focus on moving towards the unknown – developing inventions and practices that do not yet exist.
The realization of how much the world is changing and the anxiety surrounding our students’ ability to navigate this uncertain future is a common theme within our parent community. However, at the Western International School of Shanghai (WISS), we firmly believe that our students are not merely graduating to survive in the outside world; rather, they are being prepared to become the entrepreneurs who will shape and create the world in which they will thrive.
In WISS classrooms, we prioritize academic rigor while ensuring that curiosity remains alive and well. Our curriculum fosters a creative mindset that is crucial for future entrepreneurs. Through initiatives such as the student council and the Global Alliance for Innovative Learning, which connects us with a network of eight leading international schools, we provide our students with opportunities to collaborate, think critically, and develop leadership skills. These experiences cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit that goes beyond textbook knowledge and translates into real-world problem-solving.
Furthermore, we recognize that entrepreneurship is not just about coming up with new ideas; it’s about taking action and bringing those ideas to fruition. At WISS, we encourage our students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset by providing them with opportunities to engage in hands-on projects. These projects allow them to take risks, learn from failure, and develop resilience. Whether it’s through designing sustainable solutions for our campus or participating in social entrepreneurship initiatives, our students learn to think creatively, persevere through challenges, and make a positive impact on the world around them.
In addition to our academic program, we strive to create an environment that nurtures entrepreneurship. Our campus is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, including makerspaces and innovation labs, where students can experiment, prototype, and bring their ideas to life. We also invite guest speakers and entrepreneurs from various industries to share their experiences and insights with our students, inspiring them to dream big and pursue their passions.
To further support our students’ entrepreneurial journey, we have established partnerships with local businesses and organizations. These partnerships provide our students with internship and mentorship opportunities, allowing them to gain real-world experience and guidance from industry experts. By connecting our students with the local entrepreneurial ecosystem, we empower them to transform their ideas into viable ventures.
At WISS, we believe that entrepreneurship is not limited to a specific field or industry. It is a mindset that can be applied to any endeavor, whether it’s starting a tech company, launching a social enterprise, or even making a difference within established organizations. Through our interdisciplinary approach to education, we encourage our students to explore their interests and passions, and to think creatively about how they can make a positive impact in their chosen fields.
The future belongs to those who are able to adapt, innovate, and create. At the Western International School of Shanghai, we are committed to preparing our students to thrive in a rapidly changing world. Through our rigorous academic program, hands-on projects, and entrepreneurial mindset, we empower our students to become the entrepreneurs who will shape the world of tomorrow. With their creativity, resilience, and passion for making a difference, we have no doubt that they will be the driving force behind the clean technology revolution and the creation of a sustainable future for all.
Contributed by: Timothy Pyeon – Director of Academics and Innovation at the Western International School of Shanghai.