With the Business Council of Australia now providing direction and leadership for the way forward for robust discussion in Australia on higher education reform, it is clear that lifelong learning and the ability for workers to train and retrain throughout their careers is becoming a hot global topic.
One of the key themes of the World Economic Forum 2018 held in Davos, Switzerland last month was ‘Visions for a Shared Future’, releasing a paper on global education entitled ‘Towards a Reskilling Revolution: A Future of Jobs For All’ which outlines that as skills required in the global labour market are changing rapidly, it is going to be imperative that workers engage in lifelong learning “to achieve fulfilling and rewarding careers.”
Our special focus this month echoes a global focus on the Future of Work and the Future of Education, a discussion no doubt sparked by dialogues during the Davos forum. This includes forecasts of how automation and Artificial Intelligence will deeply impact current accepted systems and structures, and the need for global society to fluidly adapt in response.
In a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum, global business leader Jack Ma of Alibaba Group, China’s e-commerce giant, stated: “If we do not change the way we teach, 30 years from now, we’re going to be in trouble. The knowledge-based approach of 200 years ago will fail our kids who will never be able to compete with machines.”
Jack advocated strongly for global education to pivot more towards teaching soft-skills such as independent thinking, values and team work – our key differentiators as humans.
As we transition to a new future on the horizon, vocational education and training will be a crucial component of ensuring that young people entering the new workforce paradigm will do so successfully. With technology developing at a rapid pace, repetitive tasks are being increasingly automated by machines. Existing workers will urgently need to retrain and update their skill sets.
There is a key window of opportunity for education providers to “proactively manage the transition to a new future” and embrace industry disruption. Are you ready? Welcome to the new year!