• May 29th, 2020

Be ready, a revolution is coming

Dr David Namwandi

In a few years to come about 35 percent skills considered very crucial today shall be obsolete.
By 2020 the fourth Industrial Revolution shall have invented high tech (advanced robotics as well as autonomous transport, artificial intelligence as well as machine learning, advanced materials, bio-technology and genomics.
Our way of living shall be transformed as well as our work culture.

Most jobs shall vanish and new ones will emerge. Work we never would have dreamed of shall be pronounced more often i.e. they will be commonly known such as design thinkers – people tasked to assist organisations in their creative abilities.
What is more certain is that there will have to be a paradigm shift in what we consider to be work today for the survival of tomorrow.

Change is coming. Change is real.
It is believed that creativity shall be one of the three top skills employees will need to survive competition.
Only workers who are creative and imaginative shall cope with technologies.
While robots may take us where we want to be at that time they cannot surpass human beings in their creativity.
Currently or in the past, negotiation skills and flexibility topped the list, but year 2020 will see them dropping from top 10 because machines using big data will begin to make decisions for mankind. 

By 2026, artificial intelligence machines are expected to form part of board of directors. It is equally believed that active machine learning as a core skill today shall fall from top ten to be replaced by emotional intelligence as the latter will be a prerequisite for all.

The anticipated change shall definitely disrupt industries worldwide.
The anticipated change requires business, leaders, government, and educations alike to be proactive in order to cope with the pace. They need to up skills and train people for all to benefit from the fourth industrial revolution.
Revolution is a spontaneous process.

Definition 4th 
Industrial Revolution
According to Prof. Klaus Schwab, the Executive Chairman of WEF, the third Industrial Revolution was a result of digital technologies; however, the 4th Industrial Revolution shall be driven by a convergence of digital, biological and physical innovation. He depicted industrial revolutions` progression from 18th to 21st century as follows:
 First Revolution (mechanisation stream and water power)
 Second Revolution (mass production and electricity)
 Third Revolution (electronic, IT systems and automation) and 
 Fourth Revolution (cyber physical systems)
We are in no way victims of this revolution - rather it gives us an opportunity to give it structure and purpose, so it should not scare us but rather we should get excited.

While it is argued that this revolution may bring inequality which in turn would disrupt the labour market in terms of job losses due to replacement of humans by machines, the latter shall give birth to the net increases in safe and much rewarding jobs as it were. 

It must thus be understood that each revolution is unique with both positive and negative impact on the side of stakeholders. It is our hope that this transformation which is underway, should benefit humankind first and, foremost, it should be inclusive and human-centred.  That should be the promise of the 4th Industrial Revolution, improvement of quality of life and that of human capital and the level of world`s wealth.

It is our conviction that this revolution shall assist us to better prepare for the world`s natural disasters.

What skills define 4th Industrial Revolution?
There are a set of abilities that people ought to possess in order for them to cope with or succeed in the information age.
The following skills are a prerequisite (7Cs)
Critical thinking
Creating thinking
Complex Problem-Solving

How do we 
develop the skills?
Having noted the foundation of the 4th Industrial Revolution and the skills necessary, the question becomes how do we develop these skills? How do we capacitate our human resource to meet the demands of the 4th Industrial Revolution?
The most important element is education and skills development through short term training. An entire paradigm shift is crucial in curriculum development and delivery for all stages of education. 

To illustrate, the traditional lecturer/student relationship will need to change to educate people for the 4th Industrial Revolution, curriculum delivery will have to encourage collaborating skills where problem based learning (where students teach each other with the mere guidance of a facilitator/lecturer) is the norm. 

In such a case, the curriculum must be based on real time problems experienced by government and private sector. This will train students to become the problem solvers of society. Skills such as creativity should be embedded in the curriculum through design thinking. 

Creativity is fostered by teaching various methodologies that are solution-based in design thinking which helps students to draw and craft ideas in patterns that are easy to remember. Additionally, conducive creative spaces recognise that ideas are generated at any age. 

So these spaces encourage interactions across age groups i.e. facilitating conversations with university students, primary school children and industry professionals in one room around a problem. This challenges the boundaries set to demarcate lower and higher levels of education but is very critical in developing 4th Industrial Revolution skills.

Gaming technology is another ideal conduit to develop 4th Industrial Revolution skills. Games are no longer just used as entertainment but have been noted to increase learning across all age groups. Computer games are used to teach toddlers colours and shapes but also teach university students complex calculus problems and even aid government in simulating real life scenarios to understand and plan for potential terrorism and other political risks.

The ultimate point is that education will have to be based in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Education for the 4th Industrial Revolution will have to focus not only on the content of the curriculum but most importantly on its delivery.

Germany has a dual education system that illustrates a conducive educational environment to develop 4th Industrial Revolution skills.
The education system is designed to train young people in relevant industries where on the job learning is encouraged. Post high school individuals are placed in companies where 70% of their time is practical learning and 30% is theoretical. 
It is a win-win relationship as the company has access to trained workforce and the learner has access to real time industry learning. Such a system promotes the development of skills necessary for the 4th Industrial Revolution in the dual system a learner is exposed to critical thinking, complex problem solving, curiosity, creativity etc. 

This model also addresses the issue of funding skills development for the 4th Industrial Revolution with companies absorbing post high school learners, the cost of training then becomes their responsibility. On the other hand, Continuous Vocational Education and Training (CVET) is a system that targets experienced professionals to enable them to keep abreast with the rapidly changing trends in the work environment with short term training opportunities. Both the dual system and CVET are collaborating initiatives of the state, private sector and trade union. Again this facilitates resources for the development. 

Another adequate example is the Finnish Triple Helix Model where government, academia and private sector collaborate to further the cause of education and business for example private sector companies can choose to house part of the product development departments at universities. They use the university as their source of innovative research for product development. This also creates fertile ground for the development of 4th Industrial Revolution skills.
Finally, the IUM example. Industry requested for the training of pharmaceutical assistants. They provided the necessary resources to enable IUM to train professionals. 
* Dr David Namwandi is founder and council chair of the International University of Management. 

New Era Reporter
2019-01-25 09:27:45 | 1 years ago

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