Last time I was in Geneva (about 25 years ago!) I ended up at the top of a tree at four o´clock on Midsummer day´s morning, trying to rescue a baby bird. It had been a long night with friends, emptying what we then didn´t know was one of the most expensive bottles of red we would possibly ever taste in our entire life.
I remember the discussion getting more and more fierce. We were arguing if all children have the same opportunities in life. We were young, we were from completely different backgrounds, but of course the fact that we were sitting on a penthouse balcony overlooking central Geneva, speaks for us being somewhat more privileged than other kids.
Children don´t have the same opportunities, or possibilities in life. They really don´t. We are all served different pots of luck as we enter this world, and we then all have completely different foundations to work from. Do we have food for the day? Do we have parents to support us? What disease will hit us next. Never mind do we have a school to go to. And if we´re a girl, are we allowed to go to school, even if there is one?
Education is not something we should take for granted. 70 million children are without education in the world, mainly in sub Saharan countries in Africa. It´s easy to forget when you´re in Europe and everyone is slightly fed up with the whole school system demanding too much from everyone and draining our children. But what if we didn´t have a school to go to…?
I arrived back in Geneva on a sunny September afternoon this year, on a completely different journey; to give a training course in video blogging for some very fortunate children at one of the top private schools in Switzerland, Institut Florimont. This is a beautiful school, where they certainly value education of their children higher than anywhere else.
A beautiful setting in the outskirts of the city, the architecture at Florimont is a mixture between ultra modern and the old Swiss cottage style. Mark Silverstein, Head of Communications and Development, greeted me and gave me a quick guided tour of the premises. He´s the forward thinking man who brought me down to the school to give their International Business students a crash course in how to use video, at school and for future business needs.
The importance of introducing proper video techniques and making sure the students become more confident when they go in front of a camera is growing to critical levels. We´re not talking Facetime or playing computer games anymore; video and video blogging is becoming a serious part of our future way of communicating and generating sales. If you don´t know how to set up your camera and microphone to enhance the quality of your image and sound, if you´re not confident when speaking into that little black hole which is the lens, if you can´t connect with the person on the others side, then you´ll be struggling in both future meetings and interviews.
Many job applications are now done through video. Yes, you actually have to send in a pre-recorded video of yourself, rather than talking to a person face to face over eg Skype. So, if you´re not used to this medium, you may lose the job to someone who´s more skilled, at video recording.
Introducing video confidence already at the age of 15 in school is one of the most important tools you can equip your students with. Can you imagine the difference it will make for them in the future? When they apply for a job and they can say that they know how to run a small video production already (and the rest of the company is aged +40 and petrified of doing a Skype call, even with their closest in house team?) Imagine having a young enthusiastic person who can record an interview with a main speaker before an event, to give an idea of the content to draw people in? Someone who knows how to present news and present research result on video and instantly share it with a global audience – without fear? They will rock that business.
And of course, while the students still are at school, the most talented of them can form an in-house video department, giving out regular vlogs with news and updates on behalf of the school.
Education must be a right for all children. And where there´s education available, the children have the right to have forward thinking teachers and staff, who equip them with the tools they really need to make the best of their life.