re:learn is already planting seeds: Industry 4.0
We are on the brink of the next industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) and countries world over are working on ways to capitalize its opportunities and mitigate its risks. For Africa, this is a big window of opportunity. With more than 60% of its population under the age of 25, sub-Saharan Africa today is already the world’s youngest region in the world. By 2030, It will be home to more than one-quarter of the world’s under-25 population and by 2035, the working population of sub-Saharan Africa will exceed that of the rest of the world combined. This demographic advantage will have significant implications on Industry 4.0.
Africa and the global economy as a whole stands to benefit immensely, only if we are able to effectively prepare our younger generation for the future of work. Failure to do so will have dire consequences. The big question for us as a continent is, “how shall we ensure we make the most of this opportunity”?
Opportunity for Africa
If one thing is certain, it is that education has a big role to play in preparation for this opportunity. The World Economic Forum in a 2017 report titled “The Future of Jobs and Skills in Africa Preparing the Region for the Fourth Industrial Revolution” made a call to action to African leaders to urgently address the reforms that are needed today to ensure that Africa’s young people can harness the new opportunities that are coming their way. Some key facts from the report includes;
1. Africa could make more of its human capital
We continue to fall behind our neighbors in the best use of our workforce. It reports that Africa, on average only captures 55% of its full human capital potential compared with a global average of 65%.
2. Africa’s education systems need to catch up with the needs of today and tomorrow
To develop the quality of skilled workers we require, the education system should begin by encouraging 21st century skills (critical thinking, creativity, cognitive flexibility and emotional intelligence), as opposed to rote learning.
3. Africa should match today’s skills to tomorrow’s jobs
With the job disruptions due to Industry 4.0 yet to have a big blow on us, we must take advantage of the window of opportunity. The volume of work necessary to get us ready leaves us with little space for complacency.
With this opportunity Africa can become a full player in world economics but for this to happen, it needs the people, young and old, to gain mastery in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills and that is where the problem lies.
In Nigeria for example, while there have been many efforts over the years to improve our education, our national education strategy documents as seen below, further suggests more work is required to achieve this goals
· Education for Change: A Ministerial Strategic Plan, 2016–2019
· National Policy on Education — 6th Edition, 2013
· 4-Year Strategic Plan for the Development of the Education Sector, 2011–2015
· One (1) year strategic plan for the development of education sector, 2010
· Roadmap for the Nigerian Education Sector, 2009
We must be “athirst and ambitious” to achieve this goal
re:learn is already planting seeds:
Education on the continent is in need of radical reform. re:learn is planting the seeds for the future to ensure our young population take advantage of this opportunity. Here are some of the many ways re:learn is addressing current problems in our education system and preparing for the future that is before us.
· Providing students and supporting teachers with 21st century tools & teaching methodologies.
· Building a new wave of Educators capable of leveraging technology to educate the next generation.
· Curating engaging computer-based STEM lessons to support effective delivery.
· Supporting the younger generation’s development of computational thinking skills and knowledge of STEM
· Building global partnerships to improve our education
It has been a journey filled with exciting challenges and learning. Some of these will be shared in a future post. For you, how are you preparing and what actions would you have us take as a continent in preparation for Industry 4.0. Please drop your comment below.
re:learn is the education practice at CcHUB’s whose goal is to help schools & students use technology in smart way to enhance learning. Through content curation and capacity development — with a wide network of trained facilitators, our aim is to improve the learning experience in and out of the classroom.