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Future skills: the evolution of education

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Future skills: the evolution of education

  1. 1. Future skills the evolution of education ! ! ! ! British Council Policy Dialogue Raffles Hotel, Singapore 18.03.02014 !1
  2. 2. The next 20 years Changing landscape of technology and education. ◦ How will higher education change as a result? ◦ What will this mean for recruitment?
  3. 3. Hello Richard Sandford ◦ Researcher in education and technology ◦ Northover Research, Futurelab/University of Bristol Futures and foresight ◦ UNESCO ◦ WDA/IAL ◦ DCSF
  4. 4. Overview Three possible futures for universities and recruitment to 2035 ◦ Locked-in — future in progress today ◦ 50/50 — less certain, but possible ◦ Discontinuities and wild cards - considering the unexpected
  5. 5. Overview In each, considering: ◦ Wider trends ◦ Implications for universities ◦ Questions for recruiters
  6. 6. A quick note These aren’t predictions. These are fragments of possible futures. The aim is to make visible the assumptions that aren’t being questioned—stepping out of the frame. Broad-brush descriptions of complex things.
  7. 7. – Gaston Berger “Looking at the future disturbs the present.” !7
  8. 8. Locked in Trends that are already in progress !8
  9. 9. Wider trends Demographic changes (OECD, 2011) ◦ Developed countries’ populations ageing ◦ Rest of the world younger population ◦ Climate-induced mobility
  10. 10. Wider trends ‘Glocalisation’ ◦ Global and local contexts matter more than national ◦ Transportation and communications technology ◦ Global forces more visible on local scale ◦ Local difference more visible on global scale
  11. 11. Wider trends Hourglass economy ◦ Globalisation and technological progress ‘hollowing out’ labour market (Brown, Lauder & Ashton, 2011) ◦ Increased competition for high-skilled jobs ◦ Demand for flexible, adaptable employees —‘lifelong learning’, ‘employability’
  12. 12. Wider trends Digital technology ◦ Many internets (commercial/political/open) ◦ Mobile and wearable hardware ◦ Multiple, transient identities—move away from ‘single sign on’ and towards anonymity ◦ Savvy information consumers
  13. 13. Wider trends Social trends ◦ Politically-conscious youth: concerned with climate & mental health ◦ New models of production/consumption (Kickstarter/ Unbound) ◦ Rise of subscription models ◦ Blurred lines between work/home/learning
  14. 14. University impacts Greater role for private sector in higher education ◦ Value for money driving offer to learners Traditional roles of university disaggregated ◦ Credentialling ◦ Assessment ◦ Delivery
  15. 15. University impacts Specialisation & differentiation ◦ Research, training ◦ Prestige and niche ◦ Values and ethos ◦ Relationship with employers
  16. 16. University impacts Collaboration ◦ Regional and sector-specific Global roles and partners ◦ Overseas campuses and TEDx-style franchises Learner funding ◦ Loans from employers/Kickstarter/ads on course blog
  17. 17. Recruitment Not just recruiting to single institution Authentic engagement with audience across shifting platforms Clear narrative of both personal and social impact of degree choice for learners More strategic role within institution.
  18. 18. 50/50 Less certain — still possible !18
  19. 19. Wider trends No global superpowers—but leading cities and regions. ◦ Variety of governance regimes ◦ Local funding for services ◦ Differences within nations greater than between them.
  20. 20. Wider trends New sectors and disciplines become prominent ◦ Biocomputing, commercial space exploration, quantitative psychotherapy ◦ Working across disciplines and in partnership key to success ◦ Startup model not able to sustain this reach: established firms centres of innovation
  21. 21. Wider trends Profile of learners changes ◦ Older, part-time students dominate ◦ Most speak English as a second language (and learnt from a Chinese language school) ◦ Cognitive augmentation through cosmetic pharmacology & prosthetic enhancements ◦ Alumni of multiple institutions
  22. 22. Wider trends Majority of research takes place outside university ◦ Practice-focussed—underpins real-world action ◦ Activist organisations and private companies Open access/free software movement widespread ◦ Digital-first journals hosted in institutions ◦ Focus on ongoing research and early findings
  23. 23. University impacts Western universities no longer most prestigious University role shifts to stewardship of established knowledge, rather than breaking new ground Funding depends on regional relevance Students attending more than one institution through modular and part-time courses
  24. 24. Recruitment Students in Europe demanding accreditation from Asian universities. Difficult to monitor student body as they move between institutions — demands sophisticated CRM approaches. Entrance tests impossible to assess — move to probationary period of studies.
  25. 25. Discontinuities & wild cards On the edge of what could happen !25
  26. 26. Wider trends Machine intelligence (collective and distributed intelligence/neural simulation). Cold fusion, quantum computing a reality. Geoengineering and agriculture are social priorities. Habitable territory lost to the sea and the heat. !
  27. 27. University impacts Not all intelligences seeking accreditation will be human. Universities embedded in society through control of energy and information, but strong incentives to focus on domains with immediate social benefit. Many historic universities underwater. Others entirely mobile, travelling to research sites and possible new arable land. Mobility reduced as temperate countries clamp down on migration.
  28. 28. Recruitment How do you recruit an artificial intelligence? Who do you speak to? Immigration status disputes: multi-tiered access, citizenship privileges tightly controlled and monitored. High demand for the new sciences: impact on humanities.
  29. 29. Managing uncertainty Adopting a future-facing stance !29
  30. 30. Dancing in systems* Prediction works for closed, linear systems. Prediction doesn’t work in open, non-linear, feedback systems. Long-term thinking demands agility and anticipation. Imagination and creativity vital. *Meadows, 1999
  31. 31. Not the same things Who are you recruiting? ◦ Future alumni to a university? ◦ Students to a degree course? ◦ Employees to the workforce? ◦ Activists for social change?
  32. 32. – Eric Hobsbawm “The only certain thing about the future is that it will surprise even those who have seen the furthest into it.” !32
  33. 33. – Henri Poincare “It is far better to foresee even without certainty than not to foresee at all.” !33
  34. 34. Thank you richard@northover.sg
  35. 35. Comments & questions? !35

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