“Sixty percent of today’s schoolchildren will work in jobs that don’t even exist yet”
We often hear statements like this one in the media, but what will these new jobs be? What skills will they need? How can we prepare our students for something that doesn’t even exist yet? Is technology the only factor to consider in children’s education?
How to educate our students for professions that don’t even exist yet
All of us, and especially our students, are faced with a constantly changing society where technology is part and parcel of daily life. At school, we must spark children’s interest in technology to empower them and allow them to be independent in the digital universe. Nevertheless, this should not be our only focus; we must also strengthen their soft skills as they make us unique and help us stand out from the crowd.
According to the report by Adobe ‘Get Hired: The Importance of Creativity and Soft Skills’ — which also includes contributions from the World Economic Forum and Bloomberg — creativity, communication and strategic thinking are the most in demand soft skills on the job market, but are also the hardest to find.
Therefore, the Best Schools in Spain network integrates skills such as debate, public speaking, teamwork, social skills, analytic thinking, creativity and emotional intelligence into students’ study areas. If these skills are fully developed, a person with a good CV will become a successful professional.
At the international education event ‘enlightED’, Michelle Weise, Vice Chancellor of Strategy and Innovation at National University System, stated that the value of human skills lies in what makes us competitive. The expert highlighted the importance of training “T-shaped” workers and students. This means that they should have both human skills (the horizontal part of the T) and technical or technological know-how (the vertical part of the T).
The demand for technological profiles doubles every two years:
In our changing digital society, schools must adapt and reinvent themselves to continue driving change in education. According to the Tech Cities 2021 report published by the human resources firm ManpowerGroup, the demand for IT specialists doubles every two years in Spain.
In this regard and as we said at the beginning of the article, technology must be present in the classroom. However, we are also aware that we shouldn’t use it like any other tool; we must put technology at the service of education.
It is important to incorporate robotics, programming and artificial intelligence activities, to name but a few, into learning right from the start of schooling. We must also create so-called makerspaces and STEAM classrooms in our schools so students can develop their digital skills by sharing their knowledge and working as a team.
What’s more, we cannot forget the most important aspect of digitalization: supporting our students and teaching them how to use technology properly and safely. Training sessions on cybersecurity, data protection, the right to privacy, fake news and social media, to mention but a few topics, will be essential in the world where our students will grow up.