The beginning of the 21st century has been marked by rapid advances in technological innovation—from smartphones and big data to artificial intelligence and machine learning. While new technology can generate jobs and increase labor productivity, it also creates job displacement and widens the skills gap. Today’s generation of young people now face a world in which nearly half of today’s jobs globally—around 2 billion—are at risk of becoming obsolete due to automation and technological advancement in the coming decades.
A job for life is now a thing of the past. The World Bank estimates that 4 out of 5 children entering primary school today will eventually hold jobs that do not currently exist. These fast-changing realities leave ripple effects on communities worldwide, but the world’s poorest are likely to be the most adversely affected by these market shifts.
The ability to acquire new skills throughout life, to adapt, and to work flexibly will be of particular importance. So too will be technical, social, and critical thinking skills. Quality learning opportunities must be deployed by governments, cross-sector industry leaders, and local communities alike to encourage learning experiences that adapt to today’s world, drive income generation, prevent worsening inequality, and provide a prosperous future for all. Building on Sustainable Development Goal 4 to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, how can disadvantaged children and young people develop the skills they need to participate in the workforce of the future and thrive in the 21st century?
About 65 million people live in forced displacement: almost one percent of the world’s population.
Education in its dual role, both social and economic, has a key role to play in ensuring that world’s citizens acquire the key competences needed to enable them to adapt flexibly to such changes. Diving into a STEaM curriculum is the next step to the 21st century skills. Providing displaced people with access to quality education in the STEaM disciplines is important in order to ensure their successful integration, through their preparation for entry into the educational and employment system of the host countries.