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Continuing education in age of tech breakthroughs

/ 05:01 AM February 11, 2019

The Fourth Industrial revolution refers to technological breakthroughs such as robotics, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, 3D printing, blockchain and big data analytics.

These technologies are expected to change production processes, eliminate certain jobs and affect businesses in ways yet unclear.

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Everyone feels a need to somehow prepare for this inevitable future, but how, exactly?

This is where continuing education (CE) could be most useful.

And indeed, for workers who are about to be replaced by technology, and who would still want a job, there are few options apart from taking short courses.

Clearly they would need to retrain and upgrade their job skills in anticipation of such disruption.

But what about the youth of today—those who will enter the workforce very soon with the Fourth Revolution imminent and unstoppable? How should they be prepared?

Now there is some debate on how this should be done. Some have proposed a revamp of the basic education curriculum, from grade school onwards.

They suggest the infusion of more STEM courses (i.e., Math, Science, Computer Programming and so on) earlier and more frequently.

But many academics have argued for the opposite approach—that basic education should ensure that an adequate foundation is built.

That the basics remain so because they are the building blocks on which all technologies are built.

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For example, most programming languages of the future will still rely on basic math and logic, and similarly, all scientific advancements will be built on existing principles. The argument is that fundamentals don’t change and this is what basic education should provide—the solid foundation, the essentials.

Technology, on the other hand, changes rapidly.

If, let’s say, today’s current programming language is taught in the seventh grade, by the time the students reach the workforce five or nine years later, the language will likely already be obsolete.

But the math and logic that underpin the language, if they learned these well, will continue to be useful.

Hence, specific job skills such as programming languages, should remain the realm of continuing education. After all, CE is flexible and adaptable—any new technology or programming language could easily be introduced.

Existing courses could be modified or adapted to the qualifications needed at that moment.

The combination of a solid basic education curriculum with the flexibility of CE will prepare the next generation for the Fourth Revolution.

In anticipation of this exciting future, the Inquirer Academy will soon introduce more courses on technology and operations, including an overview on Fourth Industrial revolution technologies, full stack web development, digital transformation and more.

There will be a course on “Practical Enterprise Architecture” on March 28.

The Inquirer Academy is at 4168 Don Chino Roces Ave. corner Ponte St., Makati City. For more information about the workshops or if you would like to add your input on the article, you may e-mail [email protected], call (632) 834-1557 or 771-2715 and look for Jerald Miguel or Karl Paz, or visit the website at www.inquireracademy.com.

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