Teen who’s helping the young by asking the experts

School had left a lasting impression on Fariba Mahmoudieh. And it wasn’t entirely the one she’d hoped.

While it had clearly given her a good education, she was adamant it hadn’t prepared her as well as she’d hoped for the world of work – which is why her first career move was to help others avoid the same fate.

The north London school graduate wasted no time in launching a podcast to fill what she saw as “an education gap” by interviewing world-renowned experts in everything from mental health and nutrition to technology, financial literacy and mindfulness.

So far, she has enlisted the likes of world sailing champion Hugh Styles, research psychologist Dr Bonnie Kaplan, and self-styled Sugar Doctor Andy Daly.

The problem in her view was an education system so structured, it didn’t leave any room for curiosity or creativity.

I believe that everything we talk about can be valuable to some extent for every member in society

“Following a strict curriculum in which you learn and study to pass exams, the curiosity that students have for a subject can often be eradicated,” explains Fariba, 19. “The methods by which schools teach are not adapted to our current, evolved world. When was the last time our teachers had to write an essay?  “So why is so much time being focused on this ridiculous skill, when the majority of students will not ever have to use this form of work in their future careers?

“That being said, it is almost impossible for teachers to teach in a way that benefits children due to the strict guidelines they have to follow. We need to be looking at implementing this change on a universal level with education decision-makers.”

The podcast was created on the back of a project called MyKidsy created by her mother in xxx which helps parents find the best educational activities on and offline for youngsters. When Lockdown came, the business had to adapt to survive by finding more web-based opportunities to fill the gaps.

The podcast was the latest incarnation of this and setting it up from scratch helped Fariba develop what she described as “real world skills – social skills such as communicating with people in the workplace as well as networking that were never taught and was so crucial in furthering the podcast”.

She added: “The mission behind the podcast – wanting to fill the gap in education – is attracting a lot of people who see the value in the content we bring out by talking to such incredible people that can be so valuable to young peoples’ lives.

“Thus it has been quite easy to get people involved as they all believe in our mission, think it is a crucial one and want to further it.

This variation never makes our content repetitive and this is what our listeners enjoy the most

“Right now, our main target audience are parents. We hope that by educating parents on the importance of life skills through our different episodes, we inspire them to help their kids succeed, by introducing these incredible valuable lessons in their life.

“I believe that everything we talk about can be valuable to some extent for every member in society, whether it is about nutrition affecting your mental health or the value of music in a person’s life.

“I think what makes us special is that we cover such a large variety of topics, which everyone seems to love. This variation never makes our content repetitive and this is what our listeners enjoy the most.”

Is there anyone in particular she would like to interview?

“If I just had to pick one person I would say Michelle Obama because of her incredible work with children, especially girls,” she said.

“Her mission to educate girls worldwide is such an important one and she has already helped countless girls get the basic education they deserve. I would absolutely love to interview her on her thoughts on education in general and how we can help to further her mission.”

Meanwhile, as we reported here recently, one UK university is taking steps to address exactly these concerns by launching a Masters degree course in innovation and enterprise. More on that here

More on the MyKidsy podcasts here