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Education and work in the future

Prof. Gabriel Mario Rodrigues

Gabriel Mario Rodrigues – Chairman of the Board of Directors of ABMES (The Brazilian Association of Owners of Private Higher Education Institutions).

“If you think about the current university, you will soon think of the rigid structures that are part of the academic routine: the idea of ​​classroom, course, disciplines, credits, departments. However, none of them is real. What is real are the students. Knowledge of things is real. Being able to do them is also something real. People in the future will find alternative ways to teach these things. It is from this process that the disruption will appear “(from Internet guru Clay Shirky)

In my last article for the ABMES blog, “The Challenge of Modernizing University Curricula”, I raised concerns about the reality of higher education. The theme attracted the attention of fellow readers who, in their remarks, have shown that it is important to address the issue in more depth.

I highlight some aspects of the messages received, which can be checked in full in the comments to the article. According to Thiago Dantas, “it is a delicate issue that few pay attention to and it is related to the very sustainability of the Sector” Professor Cecília Anderlini comments that, even when they are in tune with the decisions of regulatory agencies, institutions still find spaces for creativity, involving their students in chosen projects. Professor Mirian Nere emphasized that students at all levels need to be heard, too, but in the end the most important thing is teacher preparation. Professor Paul Vadas says that the development of socio-emotional skills is pertinent, relevant and meets the needs of the real world. We are talking about personal skills (reflective, behavioral, decisional), sociocultural (values, reflexive, relational) and professional (performative). Professor Raulino Tramontin lists more than 20 items that, in summary, say:

“The world has changed, technology has changed, companies have modernized their production processes, everything has become virtual, automatic, nano, and we remain trapped in a traditional system that preserves bureaucracy and power. The system is exhausted as a whole and the worst thing is that public education demonstrates a fragility, a dangerous atavistic corporatism that only consumes resources and is not renewed, not reimagined and not restructured. ”

Apart from these issues, there is unethical competition among educational institutions, as we often see. This shows that, while essential, enrollment cannot be the sole business objective. Good educational design also attracts students.

The Planet is in exponential transformation and requires that new approaches to the development of the business system and its impacts on people’s lives be analyzed. Training for the work of the future is a relevant topic, as  discussed last week at the World Economic Forum 2018 in Davos.

Andrew McAfee, a researcher at MIT’s Digital Business Center, points out three modern trends that are transforming humanity: the advancement of artificial intelligence, the power of business platforms, and the network implications. Everything is new and it moves with incredible speed, without wanting to know of governments and geographical spaces.

McKinsey’s study points out that in the world between 400 million and 800 million will be affected by automation by the year 2030, depending on the rate of technological advancement. In Brazil alone, the impact will be on 15.7 million workers.

International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that by 2020 more than 75% of the value of US companies will come from intangible assets such as digital platforms.

The problem is everyones, cites Prof. José Pastore in his article “How will the work of the future be?”, Published in the Estadão, 25/01.

“The concern is general. Multiples are the studies that anticipate a great destruction of jobs and of income, due to automation and artificial intelligence in the execution not only of repetitive tasks, but also of intellectual ones and even of emotional ones “.

I remember that ten years ago, talking to an HR from one of the largest recruiting agencies, he said that the choices of new graduates were initially based on the price of college tuition. It would be logical that the higher prices would hold the students of better qualification, due to the social provenance. Only later did they realize that students from cheaper colleges had more determination. They were more collaborative and wanted to win in life. So they began to choose them.

Lastly, “Blind Recruitment” is gaining ground in companies seeking high income and greater diversity in staff. The selection is made without the need for information such as gender, age, skin color, marital status and professional training. What matters is to know the competencies in work effectively accomplished and how the professional reacts socially and emotionally with the challenges and with the people. The days of the diploma are numbered.

Formal education will not stand as it is. The biggest problem is the systemic bureaucratization that, on the other hand, also protects higher education institutions (HEIs). The most important has been the following of regulations that have mainly focused on the sustainability of HEIs. Because of this, students can no longer see the relevance or pertinence of the institution, especially because the HEI maintains a single, outdated model that does not take into account the individuality of each student and the differential that she or he wants to develop.

The big challenge in the industry is to realize that there is no more time to lose. Everything we write concerns a position that needs to be taken by its representative entities. Our activity is in danger and it will not be the MEC that will solve it.

There is a new reality under way that moves countries, technology, the economy, business, educational institutions, teachers, workers and students and needs to be shared by all in the quest for solutions.

The university system as we know it so far is just days away from extinction. It will not be an article like ours that will provide solutions, a manual, or a book. Moreover, in a country of territorial extension such as ours, where the teaching bureaucracy has considerable associative power, it will be insane to persuade them that educational communication will have to adapt to the new times. It is necessary to share experiences and exchange information. To observe the changes that are taking place with arms crossed, will be the end of our activity. And the attitude of change needs to start from each one of us because, surely, the rulers are not worried about our future.