Evolve or Get Left Behind: Education for Life and Work Has Taken a Dramatic Turn
The World Economic Forum predicts that 65% of children entering primary school today will end up in jobs that don’t exist yet.
Take a minute to let that sink in.
This means that if we are not already teaching our children with the evolution of the work place in mind, then we are educating many children for roles that will no longer be relevant in the near future.
Yes, it is a worrisome trend and we are already seeing the hints that the problem is taking root.
Many young people barely have a place in the labour market today because they do not possess the requisite skills to properly compete in the market. The future of work and life is already here and our education system in Nigeria is not quite equipped for it.
According to a Pearson study from 2017, by the year 2030, some of the most needed skills will include complex problem solving, deductive reasoning, fluency of ideas, social perceptiveness, active learning, systems evaluation, coordination, originality etc.
While some may argue that this research focuses on the United Kingdom and the United States and so, does not reflect our reality in Nigeria, nothing could be farther from the truth.
In this article, Joy Adeyemi, a Human Resource expert notes that the 21st century job market is “volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous”. Therefore, academic qualifications and years of experience are not enough to ensure your relevance at work or in life. Three skills she advocates for are adaptability, positivity and dependability.
Beyond Adeyemi’s expert opinion, the mismatch that we see between what employers seek and the capabilities of the applicants is glaring when one sits as a panelist during a job interview.
Therefore, ensuring that our education system evolves is urgent. So, what can we do about it?
- It begins with the way we teach in our class rooms. Teachers have to understand the way life and work are changing so that they can communicate this to their students. Yes, teachers have to take on a more critical role than the passive ones found in many schools today, and this will require nation-wide training of teachers. This also means that more stringent measures should be put in place to ensure that qualified and passionate teachers are the ones that make it into the classroom.
- Social enterprises and non-profits that offer soft skill training have to do a more rigorous job to ensure that children are being taught from early on, the skills that they will need to become more productive members of society.
- The school curricula have to be improved upon to reflect the changing reality and new industry trends. More modern techniques of teaching as well as principles have to be adopted. For instance, many wrongly assume that information technology is only about coding. In the end, this is often the focus in Nigerian universities where computer science is taught but what about artificial intelligence, data analysis, cloud architecture etc.?
However, this is not all that must be done. It is somewhere to start. With more collaboration across sectors, we will all see more impact and guarantee that posterity have a chance to truly succeed, no matter how different the future looks from today.