We live in a volatile era. Skills, education, jobs, lives etc. change at a pace faster than we can catch up.
These days, the buzz word is none other than digital disruption. It’s a much oft-used term by political leaders, educators and economists. And indeed, it has been so frequently used that it has almost become a cliche, as put by the Chairman of the SMU’s (Singapore Management University) board of trustees at the Straits Times Education Forum 2017.
One thing that this digital disruption leads to is the redundancy of certain skills, education and jobs.
What some of us have studied for , and the jobs that we do currently might not last with the digital disruption moving at such a pace.
And all these disruption will really affect our working people of today, and it will affect our students who will will be our workers of tomorrow. Hence, there is a real need to nip the problem at the bud for our students.
Perhaps the education system has to be made more dynamic in such a way that it prepares our students for constant change and help to identify what opportunities and jobs there are tomorrow.
It is good that we continue to push our students to aim higher and do better in their academic pursuits. But beyond that, our schools need to also encourage students to take risks in the face of the unknown, especially if it concerns their future.
The NTUC has in recent months been talking about matching the jobs of tomorrow to the unemployed of tomorrow. This is exactly what needs to be done, but at an even earlier stage.
Helping our students to navigate the digital disruption not only helps them today, but in the future when another period of disruption comes their way.
If there’s one characteristic that needs to be instilled in our students, it is the ability to be flexible and nimble.
Often, you see some success stories of how certain individuals have made a name for themselves in an industry which is totally different from what they studied for.
The secret to their success is actually finding a calling for themselves. Indeed, often, it takes courage and flexibility to make a switch in your career to do something which you feel called to. And it requires flexibility and willingness to change.
Hence, the important characteristic that is needed is flexibility in education. Flexibility to adapt to change, and flexibility to learn.
Perhaps with flexibility, our people can be agile and fast in making a switch to make a difference to their future.