EDUCATION AS A CATALYST FOR GROWTH
Across the globe, organisations have intensified efforts towards preparing their workforce for the demands of the future. The preparation comes in the forms of education (or training), that is, upskilling (technical, soft skills, mentorship) and digitisation training programs which will avail workers the ability to acquire knowledge, skills, tools and the ability to use the ever-changing technologies in their workplaces and private affairs. As a critical component of a country’s human capital, evidence abounds as justifications for investing in educating the workforce: a leading determinant of economic growth, employment, and earnings.
The need for education in all its form cannot be overemphasised in this rapidly changing world. For instance, 2020 in retrospect, particularly between the second (Q2) and third quarter (Q3), have it that the global economy witnessed a significant amount of disruption. From SMEs to big corporations, economic activities were at a standstill. Despite the technological advancement of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, the tale was not palatable.
The world’s biggest economy, the United States, was not left out as its economy plunged by 31.4 per cent within the period. The Eurozone witnessed a 12.1 per cent decline in its real GDP growth rate by the same period, and the impact was more felt in some economies in the Euro area. Spain’s real GDP growth rate declined by 18.5 per cent; France’s fell by 13.8 per cent, Italy saw its real GDP decline by 12.4 per cent, while Germany’s sank by 10.1 per cent.
Further, some countries including Africa’s biggest economy, Nigeria, slumped into recession. This spiralled into a significant amount of job loss across every sector of the economy, not leaving the western world behind.
As a bounce back, education took its role leading to inventions and innovations. The lockdown forced companies and businesses to think outside the box for a quick fix—upskilling their workforce. Consequently, companies in Nigeria began to train their workforce to adopt digital means of doing business which then led to remote working as part of the new normal. In effect, technologies came atop as one of the catalysts that individuals, firms and government turned to inject life into their businesses and other activities. From virtual meetings to online learning, mobile technology and online support for offline sectors, governments and corporate bodies switched to the new normal.
Apps like Zoom, Google Meet, GoToMeeting, Join Me, Webex, Slack and Microsoft Teams to mention a few became a central platform for conferencing. According to Sensor Tower, the global app revenue jumped to $50 Billion in the first half of 2020, representing 26.1 per cent of the corresponding quarter in 2019, and partly due to Covid-19, with Google Play taking the largest chunk of the global revenue.
Many research works have indicated that many of the present-day jobs may disappear in the next few years, while the jobs of the future are not yet created, requiring that workers across different sectors need new skills while for firms to remain competitive, digitalisation is the way to go. In all, it is envisaged that the gross domestic product of many economies will increase noticeably due to the implementation of upskilling and digitisation programs across the world.