One important topic that is a focus in recent years is future jobs and education. The education system now is different compared to the education system 30-40-50 years ago.
It’s evolving to include elements that are necessary for the digital age we live in, the current and future generation’s needs, the human capital development, and the knowledge-based economy approach of many countries.
What Was Education Like Before?
I’ll speak for myself now. During my k-12 years:
Did teaching prepare me for my future job? No, it didn’t.
Did it give me the analytical and critical thinking skills that are needed in every job now? No, it didn’t.
Did it train me on presentation, debate, and negotiation skills? No, it didn’t.
Was I allowed to express my opinion on the material taught or the way it was taught? Not much.
Talking about my higher education, I got a good education in business administration, which I have to be honest, helped me to an extent advance in my previous job.
However, if it wasn’t for my determination to succeed and excel at what I did, it wouldn’t have taken me further up.
I had to learn many skills on my own after I graduated, whether through self-learning, or in-class, or on the job training; skills that I could have mastered at an early age.
Things I learnt while I was working included advanced skills in computer, how to make presentations, how to think analytically and critically, how to handle conflicts, just to name a few.
In my opinion, the way the education system was over 30 years ago in schools, should change and it is changing and evolving.
The system should focus on new methods of teaching: new skills, new relationships between teachers, students and parents, and the importance of teaching children ethics, principles, values, and manners before anything else.
New Methods of Teaching
New methods of teaching is a vast subject and will not be covered in a paragraph or two. However, students must, before anything else, enjoy learning.
Talking about future jobs and education, new methods of teaching must focus as well on the students’ future careers starting from their school years.
These methods should help them plan for their life after graduation as well as assist them advance in their careers by teaching them important skills.
One might argue that it’s too early to prepare students for their careers while they are in school. However, when schools equip students with the necessary skills that will help them succeed in their future careers, it will do them, their employers, their community, and their country a huge favor.
Another important point to consider is that some students don’t want to be doctors, or engineers, or scientists, or professors, etc. They are not eager to go to universities to study the above subjects.
These students want to pursue other professions where a trade school or vocational school is their higher education choice and therefore, educators should encourage them because they might be the entrepreneurs of the future.
Building a modern education system will also influence the socioeconomic development and hence, education should align with the rapidly changing social and economic needs of the country.
Children know how to use social media from as young as 3 years old, so there is no excuse to object to digital learning in classrooms. On the contrary, it is also a good opportunity to teach students how to use technology responsibly.
Digital learning is now inevitable. Laptops, tablets, and i Pads are replacing text books. Information are readily available with a click of a button.
Technology is transforming how students are learning. However, teachers themselves should embrace technology and should be creative in digital learning.
Any method will not be effective if teachers are not skilled. They must undergo rigorous training themselves in utilizing technology in teaching.
Important Skills to Prepare Students for Their Future Careers
Some students excel at certain skills naturally.
These students either have the capabilities for math and science, or inventions, or creative thinking, or communication, or they are charismatic by nature. Others need help in raising these capabilities.
Future jobs and education are correlated. The education system will need to transform to prepare students for future jobs and the changing labor market. Here where teachers should come in and help their students:
- Analytical, Critical Thinking and Creativity: Students should learn how to look at situations differently and learn to be creative and imaginative and come up with solutions to problems.
- Organizing, Planning, and Experimenting: Teachers should encourage their students to come up with ideas, plan implementation then implement. A way to teach them entrepreneurship early on.
- Communication: it is very critical that students learn how to communicate verbally; whether making a presentation, speech, debate etc., and in writing; how to write a report, article, etc.
- Self-learning and Research: Employees undergo training and development in most organizations online by way of self-learning. Students as well need to explore self-learning and evaluate information on their own.
Other Skills for Future Careers
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM): Almost all educators, employers, and governments agree that these subjects are a must to transform a country into a knowledge-based economy to diversify income. They are the focus of the future.
- Languages: Mastering at least two languages, mother language and another language, is very important to life and career success. I’m a big advocate for teaching a second language in schools.
- Volunteering and Community Work: Will teach students responsibility, team work, and collaboration.
- Other skills that are necessary, in my opinion, include typing skills, how to save money, health information and nutrition information.
Future Jobs and Education
Future jobs and education are interrelated, so new methods of teaching should take future jobs skills into consideration.
Many jobs today are replaced, and will be replaced in the future, by technology, AI and robotics.
- Haven’t we seen on TV the surgical machine performing a surgery in the operating room?
- Don’t we all renew our driver’s license, health card, or national ID on the government’s app on our smart phones?
- Don’t we book airline tickets, hotels, and do most of our shopping online?
- Have you noticed the decrease in the number of tellers in most of the banks?
- Don’t we study courses online and get accredited certificates?
So what are the best jobs in the future to pursue if technology, AI, and robotics will take over many of them?
Should students study only technology-related subjects so that they guarantee a job after graduation and stay employed longer?
Are there subjects more important than others?
Every subject is important as long as students learn and enhance the skills pertaining to that subject.
Learning should continue after graduation to keep up with changing demands and new technology.
Some skills are very important in every subject and a must for any career now and in the future. These include:
- Creativity and innovation
- Critical thinking and problem-solving
- Agility and adaptability
- Data analysis
- Media communication
- Emotional intelligence
If you noticed, the above skills are all soft skills, which means, to be successful in your current and future careers, you need to focus more on your soft skills.
I still believe human interactions cannot be replaced by AI or robots or any technology. It’s not human-like to deal only with technology. It’s not natural at all.
How Students Should Prepare For Their Future Careers?
Students need to gain the necessary knowledge to help them integrate into the future workforce. However, they need to study what they are passionate about because no one really can predict the jobs of the future.
The most important thing for them to know is that they are going to be learning for the rest of their lives.