Educating for the 21st Century
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Educating for the 21st Century


There is a rapid rise in the demand for new
skills. In fact, we see that at the individual levels and we see this at aggregate levels.
There’s a growing gap between employment and labor market prospects of people who are highly
skilled and people at the low end of the skill spectrum. Skills determine more and more how
the benefits of economic growth are shared in societies. The success of companies today
depends on nothing more than on the talent pool which they recruit. Seventy percent of
productivity gains have been driven by improvements in the skill base. So there is a dramatically
rising demand for better skilled people. At the very same time we also see that in
some countries there are many graduates unemployed on the street, while employers say they cannot
find the people with the skills they need. So there is an emerging mismatch between the
kind of talent that is being developed and the talent that is really needed. In fact,
one of the things that our data shows is that some of the skills that are easiest to teach
and easiest to test are also the kind of skills that are easiest to digitize, automate, and
outsource. So that’s a big challenge for the education industry today to think about “What
are the kind of twenty-first century skills that will enable people?”
In the past you could assume, as a teacher, you would teach someone for their lifetime
what you learn is school is going to last for many, many years. Today that’s no longer
the case. Today we need to educate people for jobs that have not been created, to use
technologies that haven’t been invented, to solve social and economic problems that we
don’t have any idea are gonna arise. This is the fundamental challenge for education.
And that requires a very different caliber of teachers. Teachers who are not just reproducing
educating the reproduction of subject matter content but to help young people to extrapolate
from what they know, to use and apply their knowledge in novel situations. In a nutshell,
the world economy no longer pays you for what you know. Google knows everything.
The world economy pays you for what you can do with what you know and that requires a
very different caliber of teachers and a very different pedagogy — twenty-first century
pedagogy — a very different relationship between teachers and students. Technology
is part of this. Today it’s hard to explain why you should accept the teacher next door
if you can’t have access to the world’s best knowledge anywhere. We’re seeing an unbundling
of educational content, educational delivery and accreditation with people anywhere drawing
on the world’s best knowledge at any time. We are seeing governments putting greater
emphasis on evaluating outcomes, on quality assurance, on setting standards. And the business
sector actually being a lot more engaged in helping educational systems figure out where
is labor demand evolving. What are the kind of skills that will be at a premium tomorrow.
The business sector is playing a very important role as an education provider, engaging actively
in the design and delivery of instructional systems, providing educational and learning
opportunities for people in many, many contexts. At least we’re seeing this in some countries.
In others it’s still a big challenge.

About James Carlton

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30 thoughts on “Educating for the 21st Century

  1. this appears to be a symptom of the encroaching singularity. Change is accelerating, we admit we need to teach skills that don't exist yet and we know nothing about because we know that those kind of skills will be required just over the horizon… the event horizon.

  2. Education and economy..

    Why cant they think about education in a non profit way?

    Why do we have do make education better to make more god damn money and not to make better ppl?

    Education: right thinking, independent, critical thinking,creative, artistic,social,productive.

    This system is promoting maths and physics that are usable only by scientits in the long term , plus the memorisation system.

    As a graduate of this system i can safely say that its a complete failure! And they dont want it to change…

    They always focus on the needs of economy and industry and we are always excluded.

  3. Education has two fold purpose. One is the skill needed to cope with the need of modern industry, and the other is to improve human skill. What I mean is as follows: Modern world is not only fast, every individual is left to fend for himself, and if someone is not well trained to tackle what life has to through at you, and the pitfalls you face, like drugs, sex, political and religious indoctrinations etc. cannot be avoided without proper education for human development.
             I would like to add one important part of the education called "meditation", that not only helps you with "self control", and improve your "level of concentration". as well as improve your skill. Like the great Indian mathematician named Ramanujan who achieved skill, almost divine, because of meditation from an early age !!!

  4. future education should be for free, there will be less jobs in the future with technologies replacing man's blue collar work so the children now will need to think of new jobs. Education should be tailored to teach how to be a better human & push more into the sciences.

  5. My name may seen funny, but however, I am intelligent. If you want everyone in our future generations to do better. Start with training their subconscious mind into conscious thinking. Your brain thinks at 200 times a second on average. However, it thinks at 100,000 times a second when subconsciously. And curiosity is what intreges people to continue their studies.

  6. "Imagination is more important then knowledge" ~Albert Einstein
    You can't teach creativity and thanks to Google knowledge is at everyone's fingertips. The big business of education will fade in the coming decades. 🙂

  7. You should know the difference between 'then' and 'than' before pointing the finger at teachers. Or are you gonna also pin it on them?

  8. Why do parents say the the best jobs are either a doctor or lawyer but NOT an engineer? What happened?

    Also, ban zero tolerance! Violation against our right to self defense for both students AND teachers!

    Anonymous is watching

  9. Not a single professor I've taken has done anything beyond what I could already manifest on my own behalf. Antiquated patterns of learning and memory. Closed minded approaches with staunch limits for rules and arbitrary blocks to learning in a holistic fashion. I am more creative than any of them and they try to use really really lame teaching methods with terrible examples to get their points across. It's bull. I hate it. But I'm unemployable without a degree for the time being and college is way better than any other work I've ever done soooooooo yeah… I am way more fun when I don't have to compensate for the people who are supposed to be educating me I promise.

  10. I'm so frustrated that schools usually teach what is easy to teach and easy to test, but not what is needed, and I'm happy to know that someone else has noticed.

  11. This is why I think games are so powerful, and I'm not talking about educational games. Good games teach people how to analyse situations and learn how to problem solve in situations they've never experienced before. They also teach you that by trying you can solve any problem. 

  12. I hate the propaganda that says the internet gives you all of human knowledge at a few keystrokes. The internet is an unorganized mess of all human knowledge that helps no one who doesn't know what they're looking for.

  13. Educating people for specific skill is call programming a robot to do specific task. Educating people is teaching them to be human who taking care of their life by their own hands, independent. The prosperity we are having right now is harvesting from our ancestor they was creating foundation for generation to generation. We are not doing right now. Once your educate human to be independent, they will teach and adapt themselves to whatever market needs. Human are dynamic not static. It is my opinion.

  14. "Education" is such a waste of time. The only place I wasted more time was in the Army.
    I learn more online than I ever did in school. It is just that some kind of orientation is needed to make the most of your time online. You can't learn anything useful watching the most popular videos or sport videos. I always wished I had an astrophysicist to ask questions from or a mathematician that I could consult and now I have all those things at my fingertips so why should I go anywhere else?

    I have more insight than all my teachers, For Your (God's) testimonies (things that are observed) are my meditation.

  15. Computer science is the only job I see surviving the 21st century and even that will be obsolete if the singularity actually happens.

  16. labor isnt a skill…. anyone can do it you dont need to learn how to lift a box to get a job stacking shelves its self evident humans can lift -_-

    creating a movie that is purely CGI now that skill

  17. Brilliant insight here, that the skills and knowledge that are most easily testable in a large-scale way are also easily automated, and thus of little value for job prospects and economic growth.

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