The world economic form had published an article on the 4th industrial revolution, highlighting how technological revolution will fundamentally change the way we communicate and live our everyday life and how we should be responding to this change. One of the areas this could definitely impact is Education. The question of how to prepare the younger, and even the current, generation for the fourth industrial revolution has been a pressing issue for educators. How do we educate for the fourth industrial revolution? Are our curriculum’s and programs relevant? If not how do we modify and reconstruct it to make it worthwhile for students?
Our speaker at EduTECH Asia, Dr. Neelam Parmar, Director of E-Learning from Ashford School UK, has shared her views on the article as below:
Do I agree with the forecast – Some of it. There are elements of truth within the article but I worry that, like everything else, there is also a great deal of hype. Yes, we are going through the 4IR (4th Industrial Revolution) and there is change taking place at a phenomenal level. However, with any change we need a vision and with a vision we need a plan. I am not sure we have plans. While there is some truth in what some education disrupters propose, there can also be a lot of ambiguity and vagueness.
Personally, I hear more about how we need to empower each other in the 4IR. In the end it is coming down to a shared sense of destiny and working with people and their values.
Does it need more detail – it needs shaping. There is a lot more talking and less action. What are the areas we need to work on? What is the vision? What is lacking in the UK? How do we get there? So, from an educator’s point of view, when I go into schools, I help them set a digital strategy and we focus on the digital evolution for schools based on the student’s, staff, parental and community needs. Then we draw up a 2-year plan of how we are going to get there. So, while vision is really important – it also needs to be pragmatic.
What skills does it imply? When parents ask me what are some of the skills their children will require for their future? I always say get them to think, innovate and reflect. It is no longer about memorising facts or holding onto data. This 4IR is about learning about the facts and applying them into context.
Our education system created for an industrial economy is letting us down. With the rise of AI and automation, we need a new system, a transformation, in which the application of knowledge to collaborative problem solving is a necessary skill. We need our children to communicate, collaborate, and create not only within their spaces but also with others locally and on a global scale.
The reality is that the skills for the future are ones that machines cannot do. This then means that we can automate the work that relies on rules and procedures and spend more time on humanising the jobs that we can do such as, working in creative endeavours or social emotional intelligence interactions.
Identify and nurture human skills which will make it all work together – I am going to end on this because I now see a new future which is looking to harness the positive effects of the internet of things. I am able to see a new vision of education in which every child can have access to a quality education that can be created and shared by good schools. The technology has now caught up with what we need it to do so it is not a task, which is inconceivable anymore. Our children need to be educated for the Fourth Industrial Revolution but unfortunately many of our government-funded schools are failing them.
To future proof Britain, we must find a way to offer an excellent or equal education for all, whoever they are, whatever their circumstances, and wherever they live. To get there, we need to create new approaches, systems and schools. For this to start, we need to work with likeminded individuals who share similar values, and who can create an equal educational system for all. We will need to work with experts who currently work in education and understand the perspectives of a student, teacher, parent and community. There will be a new emphasis on creativity and teamwork for a new education skills system to work.
It is now time to talk less and act on delivering the right to a good education by using the technology we know can make it happen.
The writer is Dr. Neelam Parmar, Director of E-Learning at Ashford School, UK
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