To fit into the future of work, today’s students will need more than just a diploma, experts have said. They add that the students will also need digital savvy and real-world skills that make them more employable in the future of work context.
As a result, education systems will need to nurture traditional IQ alongside digital literacy and skills, while also equipping learners with the tools they will need to independently innovate, create and collaborate in a global digital economy that will require agile, resilient mindsets.
The reason for this, the experts explain, is that around 50 percent of today’s jobs require some element of digital skills. It is expected that, by 2030, that figure will jump to 77 percent, with a host of new technologies changing not only the types of jobs to be seen, but also the skill sets required to succeed in them. Echoing this is McKinsey’s August 2021 Opportunity Youth report, which notes that the next generation of youth in the MENAP (Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan) region will be entering a radically changed labour market.
As a result, education systems will need to nurture traditional intelligent quotient (IQ) alongside digital literacy and skills, while also equipping learners with the tools they will need to independently innovate, create and collaborate in a global digital economy that will require agile, resilient mindsets.
During the pandemic, the world witnessed first-hand great collaboration between Ministries of Education, Microsoft and donors such as UNESCO, UNICEF and Global Partnership for Education, joining together to provide solutions for remote learning. This opened new doors of opportunity.
According to the experts, the pandemic, indeed, opened the door to the much-needed innovation in the education sector. A recent YouGov survey commissioned by Microsoft, notes that 82 percent of educators agree that this past year has accelerated the pace at which technology has driven innovation in teaching and learning.
While the education sector turned to technology to enable remote learning, the radical shift that the pandemic presented is not just about technology as a simple mechanism for the delivery of learning. “Technology should be viewed as a robust mechanism for culture building; a way to redesign learning that fosters creative, cognitive thinking, independent innovation, and the ability to collaborate effectively. Education technology should be embraced not only to enable teaching, but also to enrich the experience as well,” the experts said.
They reason that promoting active versus passive learning is one way that technology can help better engage learners in a new remote or hybrid schooling environment, adding that the past year has brought the social-emotional aspects of learning into the spotlight, with higher-level cognitive and technical skills being given greater priority alongside more traditional curricula.
An example of this is how an increasing number of educators across the region are seeing the value of gaming when it comes to promoting active learning, enhancing student engagement and enriching learning. Using platforms such as Microsoft’s Minecraft: Education Edition, educators have been successful in encouraging collaboration, team creation, and leadership values, with excellent results.
Equally, technology can help support learners in new ways by offering tools to combat new challenges. Across different parts of the world, remote learning triggered a decline in reading skills – a trend that is of particular concern for many countries in Africa and the Middle East, where the battle to improve literacy rates has been long and hard-fought.