I have recently completed a MOOC (massive open online course) provided by the World Bank Group called "The Future of Work: Preparing for Disruption".
Topics included in the course;
- The changing nature of work
- Human capital: a new framework
- Lifelong learning: from birth to retirement
- Social protections and returns to work
- Investing in social inclusion
With recent advances in technology the way we live, communicate and do business, are shifting and many routine and low-skill jobs will be eliminated by various types of automation and artificial intelligence. At the same time innovation will create new jobs in areas we may not even know about today; expectation is that many children currently in primary school will work in jobs as adults that do not even exist today.
The course hammers home the message that individuals and countries around the world need to focus on and invest in human capital, i.e. the population’s health, skills, knowledge, experience and habits, to ensure countries are thriving in the new technological area. Not doing so results in loss of opportunity.
Research quoted in the course states that an extra year of studies means 9% increase in income in later life. Although, we need to bear in mind that traditional class room learning may no longer be suitable, similarly providing adult learning will have different requirements than the learning we provide to children and teenagers.
We also know that skills like critical analysis, problem solving, teamwork and empathy will be in high demand; subjects which are not standard in many (if any!) countries. High-paying jobs increasingly require strong social skills.
When it comes to learning, early disadvantage leads to long term disadvantage. The first 1,000 days of a child's life is critical for their life-long learning and opportunities in life. It is much harder and more expensive to 'catch up' later in life.