At the intersect between education and technology

Charting a New Path to Career Success

Old technologies and jobs are either fading away or morphing into something new. Emerging technologies such as AI, IOT, blockchain and analytics can cause massive disruptions in existing jobs and industries, but also have the potential to create wealth and new kinds of jobs. The education system, in its current form, is woefully unprepared to capitalize on evolving job opportunities as it has its roots and was designed to support the age of industrialization. It is therefore time for policy makers worldwide to rethink the existing education system. They need to eliminate the bias towards tertiary education and focus on technical and vocational education.

Educational innovation and change is already in the air, albeit in selective pockets. Finland is poised to become the first country in the world to over-haul its education system by discontinuing school-level subjects and adopting a phenomenon-based learning methodology. In this approach, the students would bridge the artificial divisions between various disciplines by studying a concept through multiple lenses of science, geography, history, etc, thereby equipping themselves to better handle real-world issues. Do-it-yourself or alternative education is also gaining popularity as it teaches relevant skills for a fast-evolving environment.

Technological advances are allowing students to attend lectures without being physically present in classrooms. Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) pioneers such as the MIT, Stanford and Harvard are making top-quality course content available online free of cost, and alternative education providers such as Khan Academy, Udacity and Coursera are supplementing these efforts.

A floating school in Lagos and a gender-neutral school in Stockholm are beacons of innovative thinking in education. Vocational courses in unconventional fields such as jewellery and communication would be another means of riding the disruptive wave. Mass Communication courses are already gaining in popularity among the millennial generation of students. Pet grooming is another interesting career option at a time when people are becoming increasingly animal-friendly and willing to spend money on their pets. Connoisseurs of food and drinks can choose courses and careers in hotel management, wine and tea tasting, while adventure lovers and travel freaks can opt for courses such as scuba diving. Cartography could be an interesting area of study for those passionate about geography and related disciplines.

In the fashion space, gaining an expertise in gems and jewellery is the way forward. There are ample opportunities for designers (who design bracelets, chains, necklaces, nose rings, earrings, armlets, engagement rings, etc), trend analysts, merchandisers and brand managers in the jewellery segment. Film and television courses could bring in the glam factor and monetary returns in equal measure. And with the corporate and film industries coming into their own, the field of image consulting can be a pertinent career choice.

The British author and global educational advisor Sir Ken Robinson has rightly emphasized the need to reform the education system in order to realize human capacity to the fullest. Education needs to evolve to keep pace with the changing societal dynamics or risk being rendered irrelevant.

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