Amplification of Learning Productivity
Continuous fluid learning is now an economic imperative in the context of today’s supra-accelerating technological innovation, and the ensuing exponential increase in related data and know-how. Economies that refuse to accept this reality, are doomed to fiscal and social plight. To compete, let alone get ahead, nations-states must enable faster, smarter, state-of-art human capital.
This is one of the biggest economic deals today, because the education paradigms and models that have hardly changed for millennia, now thwarts economic progress. Go back to ancient Greece and you would witness students sitting in classes, facing a backboard, instructed by teachers and assisted by tutors. Go to any modern school today, and you would see a similar model. A model that has moved on little more than a shackled 19th century factory.
But now go out of the classroom and you will find that learning is global. The pace hustled, social, custom, and often esoteric. The content ever novel, surprising, discontinuous, disruptive and multidimensional. Application half-life decaying faster, recoiling earlier. Productivity intense, augmented, smart and real-time. The focus futures, opportunities and possibilities. And the activity itself fun, intriguing, curious and absorbing. And all this outside the classroom. What on earth is going on?
If adolescents and not so young adults are not engaged in learning science based futures orientated skills, and acquiring knowledge that enables them to open the door and build and earn a living in the future; large numbers are going to continue be dead in the water!
As I write, United Nation’s International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that close to 75 million 15 to 24 year-olds (12.6 percent) around the world are Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET). High youth unemployment is one of the principal long-term problems threatening stable societies around the planet.
Only, this situation may be worse. Because these NEET numbers are not only estimated as percentages of people of working age that are able to work and not in education; but also do not include people carrying out any kind of subsistence work (an hour a day delivering newspapers in a Kentish town; sweeping a cow shed in Kansas; or scavenging and reselling from landfill sites in Kenya).
In the coming years, the ILO annual report warns that the world's advanced economies will suffer a lost decade of jobs growth, with more people unemployed for longer. The World of Work predicts that employment rates in advanced economies will not return to pre-crisis (c.2008) levels until after 2017, 10 years after the start of the global financial meltdown.
To add to this, a kind of high frequency cyclic unemployment-reemployment pattern is causing a longer-term difficulty with people dropping out and in, and then out of work again. This has adverse consequences on opportunities to advance in a good job or career, and improve standards of living. For elders, the idea of obtaining a mortgage to buy a home may be seen as a risk; for the younger home buyer, naivety about the long-term repayment of a mortgage and housing bubbles could lead them into debt.
It gets grimmer. In the UK, 9 percent of the 230,000 graduates from 2011-12 are unemployed. Coupled to almost 10 thousand graduates underemployed in elementary occupations, including roles such as office junior, hospital porter, waiter and shelf-stacker. All that academic effort to little avail.
This luminously highlights that unemployment and underemployment is a devastating phenomena in the lives of graduates, and a definite indicators that incumbent employers demand a different employment dynamic. But more, emerging innovative firms require skills that are just not there in sufficient numbers. Again, innovation requires new roles, thus new skills.