I am excited by the opportunities that the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2012 is providing to create momentum on skills training and education.
On Tuesday, we tackled the question of how mobile learning (m-learning) can help improve the quality and reach of education. Today, there are increasingly sophisticated learning tools on offer via mobile phones, tablets and other devices. And, the opportunities provided by augmented reality, educational gaming and social networking for peer collaboration are enticing.
But, we are only just beginning to understand how these can be combined with teaching and coaching to dramatically change the quality and cost of delivering meaningful education. In the words of one government minister: “We have been given laptops, whiteboards and networks, but they are not making a difference because our teachers do not use them.”
A focus on involving teachers in the design and the delivery of genuinely blended and learner-centric environments must be part of the answer.
Tomorrow, we turn to a separate but equally important discussion – the issue of youth unemployment. We know from our own research that employers are increasingly finding that young people are not equipped with the skills they need to help their businesses succeed; the issue is particularly severe regarding IT skills. At the same time, large numbers of young people and graduates are unable to find work. We need to revisit the nature of education, training and skills on offer, and equip people with the employability and entrepreneurial skills they need to make a difference.
There is no shortage of people with knowledge and insights on these topics. The great thing about the Forum is that it is helping us make the connections needed for significant progress on both those topics.
I have one suggestion for the future – the need to develop a specific education programme that allows us to go even further into the details.
Author: Chris Kirk is Chief Executive Officer, GEMS Education Solutions, GEMS Education, United Kingdom, and Member of the Global Agenda Council on Youth Unemployment.
Picture: REUTERS/ERIC THAYER