Preparing Students for the Future of the Workplace
Both the School and the college leaders must understand that the conventional wisdom that says ‘the school need to prepare kids for the college and the college need to prepare them for the life’ is getting outdated.
The definition of the college is changing dynamically. Students are opting all new streams for the college, which are not at all conventional, which have rather not existed until recently.
The conventional programs at colleges are having less and less takers and why not, the big commitment, by these conventional streams in college, to deliver a successful career, has time and again failed. The struggling and depleting conventional higher education is creating a responsibility shift, where the school are now expected to prepare kids for life. But the Schools, whose entire concept until recently has been to prepare kids for college, do not have a clue, how to prepare kids for life.
In a recent report, Linkedin said that more than 35% of the subscribers present on the platform identify themselves as a Freelancer or as a Consultant. An even important thing is that it is a growing trend.
Be it in the name of solopreneur, entrepreneur, knowledgepreneur, technopreneur and the endless words with a ‘preneur’ suffix, more and more people today are opting to work for themselves in the Gig Economy. But on the contrary, the current curriculum of our schools or colleges do not even mention about this, forget about preparing the kids for the great shift.
If you try to observe closely, a polarisation in the job market is evident.
Today, at one hand, we have high paying Data Science, Fintech or Technology Jobs. People are working on block-chains, Machine Intelligence, Internet of Things and many such other technology, which will shape an entirely unknown future and on the other hand are the blood-sucking, painstaking Sales or Data Entry jobs. The jobs in between are absent.
In the wake of such polarisation getting ready for the Volatile Uncertain Complex and Ambiguous future is not going to be easy. We need to identify the right techniques, technology and content to fix this gap. Do we really understand, what the right questions are?
I chose a question
What kind of education do we need to get ready for the workplace of the future?
and in January 2017, I started a research on the Futuristic Education, more precisely, ‘how or what can we do to get ready for the future?’ through my initiative www.EdMonks.com.
In January 2016, when at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Klaus Schwab, introduced the world with the concept of ‘the 4th industrial revolution’ and many people like me realised the power of observing trends.
World Economic forum has given enough data to confirm the arrival of the 4th industrial revolution and told that this is the biggest revolution in the history of mankind.
While all earlier industrial revolutions were caused by one or at max two technologies, this 4th one is being fed by scores of different technologies at the same time.
Robots, Drones, Big Data, Mobile Computing, Machine Intelligence, Mixed Reality, 3D-Printing, Internet Of Things, Block-chains, Quantum Computing and many other such technologies, each one capable to lead their own industrial revolution, are changing the world, that we live in, upside down.
The bigger issue with these technologies is that majority of jobs of today will disappear in the future. For example
Automation and Robots will replace factory workers
Artificial Intelligence will sweep jobs across the profession.
(Just imagine, soon we will not need drivers because vehicles will go driver less)
Delivery of almost anything may now be done through Drones.
3D-Printing will disrupt the prototyping world, which will open phenomenal possibilities.
Block-chain may actually make your governance free of people.
Although each of these technologies is capable of mass layoffs but at the same time they will also introduce new kinds of opportunities.
The delivery of job will now be done through a new ecosystem that we call ‘The Gig Economy’, which have three prime segments
The BLUE World | It will primarily include big corporate with huge turnovers but very small number of people directly working for them.
The ORANGE World | The masses will be here, who offer their services to the BLUE world not as a job but as a one time GIG and will be compensated for it. Majority of the work by the BLUE world that cannot be done by machines, will be given to the ORANGE world through gigs.
The GREEN World | Here will be the people, who will work for a cause. They will be working on sustaining earth resources and stopping or at least delaying the extinction of humans. For more information, you can please read 17 Goals of Sustainable development by United Nations.
Conventional education is all about information accumulation, years and years of cramming, and surprisingly we call it knowledge-based education.
But with the help of Automation and Artificial Intelligence, a simple robot or let’s call it a humanoid cobot is now able to process the entire knowledge that you have acquired in years, in a matter of few hours or less.
And hence to stay relevant in the future and in the Gig Economy,, the need of the hour is to learn the skills that will keep you relevant in the future and that cannot be easily implemented in machines. So skills like Complex Problem Solving, Critical thinking, Global Perspective, Service Orientation, Negotiation, Vision etc are the kind of things need to be emphasised upon in the educational institution.
The students will also need a personal brand, because the fee you want to charge in the gig economy, will be decided only by your personal brand.
In the conventional system, when a student comes out from an educational institution, one usually experience a dilemma no experience so no job, so only a limited information available to showcase on their resume of a fresher like the academic achievements, the biological data, academic or sports achievements etc, but no experience
However in the gig economy, the student may have a lot of things added to her or his profile that gives them extra advantage. The resume may include (only by putting in a small effort)
An Online portfolio of her or his designs
or An e-book on one’s passion
or An Online Course as an instructor
or Helping some startup/community on some event management
And countless other things that may improve the candidature to secure a job or a gig.
It may look difficult to you in the beginning but the world of the Internet is full of opportunities. In my research that i did at 18 schools in Delhi under the name ‘The Future Ready Student’, I was happy to see that 6% of the students, who participated on my programs were already involved into the gig economy.
I also realised, they were all growing, not because of the schools, but despite the schools.
Can we change it?
The contributor of this article is a Public Speaker, Author and the torch-bearer of disruptive innovations in education. He run EdMonks, a content platform working on overall education improvement to get the masses ready for the 4th Industrial age.
To know more about him, please visit about.me/kausho