“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” ― Albert Einstein
In the 21st century, it is standard fare for people to switch careers several times, experience sectors being revolutionized and having no choice but to develop extra skills as a result of all of these shifts. The sort of careers folks are in at the age of 30 is most definitely going to be different from what they will be doing later in life at ages 40, 50, or 60.
Due to the dynamic transformation of global economies across the world, young people have no choice but to be life long learners. The former model of wrapping up one’s education before the age of 21, then getting a job and ignoring going back to school again is now obsolete. In the 21st century, it is standard fare for people to switch careers several times, experience sectors being revolutionized and having no choice but to develop extra skills as a result of all of these shifts. The sort of careers folks are in at the age of 30 is most definitely going to be different from what they will be doing later in life at ages 40, 50, or 60.
In my book, Future Readiness In Education, I stated that it is critical that our children acquire new skills throughout their lives. The world in which they live currently dictates that they stay up-to-date with the latest advances and understand that employers look for distinctive things at various times in an employee’s lifetime. Abilities that were okay at a certain time might become obsolete, requiring them to apprise their capabilities for a changing workforce.
Disruptions due to technological advancements would build up the need for continuing education. A McKinsey Global Institute report states that sixty per cent of all jobs have at least thirty per cent of tasks that could be automated (could be replaced by technology i.e. robots). In order words, most jobs will change and there would be no choice but to work with technology. We should expect major instability in careers. Disruption will be a mainstay of the future of work.
To ensure a smooth transition to the inevitable changes, education as we know it has to adapt to these new realities. Part of the reforms required in Sub-Saharan Africa are the adoption of distance learning, massive open online courses, and digital resources. The current youth have matured as “digital natives” and are at ease using technology in many aspects of their lives. These young people desire for their schools to offer the latest digital tools and to incorporate their use into the curriculum.
Let’s remove our heads from being stuck in the sand and understand that the acquisition of new proficiencies is vital to coping in an era of economic disruption.
This means that schools over here ought to become more creative in how they teach. At a training program in which I spoke to over twenty public school teachers on how to deploy STEM education for our children’s benefit, I mentioned to them of the need to use games to incorporate the application of content learnt into instruction. Students already love games and continuously earn points in the games that they play on their mobile devices. This combination of video gaming and education represents a potent form of digital learning.
This brings me to how interwoven smartphones and mobile tablets are to our lives now: we get all of our information there and interact a lot on them. 24 hours a day people reach for their mobile devices to garner information and carry out transactions. Due to their convenience and accessibility, it is easy to carry out transactions on these devices without needing to go to physical locations.
These tools make it is easier to acquire new skills at various stages now. Community colleges, private businesses, and distance learning all have roles to play in the future of work.
All hands need to be on deck to assist our children to gain the skills they need – government, enterprises, and their local communities. This includes coding and software development to design machine-human interfaces. It also requires soft and hard skills that put them in a firm position for changes from company-to-company and sector-to-sector.
Let’s remove our heads from being stuck in the sand and understand that the acquisition of new skills is vital to coping in an era of economic disruption.
Adetola Salau; Educator / Speaker / Author/ Social Entrepreneur / Innovator
She is an Advocate of STEM Education and is Passionate about Education reform. She is an innovative thinker and strives for our society & continent as a whole to reclaim it’s greatness. She runs an educational foundation with the mission to transform education.