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20th FNESP – More Than an Event, an Immersion in a New Demand From The World of Work

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Prof. Gabriel Mario Rodrigues

Gabriel Mario Rodrigues – Chairman of the Board of Directors of ABMES

“The effects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution must be the result of more cooperation and less competition between countries, of joining human and financial resources in favor of a civilization that shares the same destiny.” (Thomas Philbeck, World Economic Forum)

The 20th National Forum of Higher Education – FNESP, promoted by Semesp and held in São Paulo, on the 27th and 28th of September, was a real success. The 4th Industrial Revolution was considered as the central theme, which is currently the concern of all.

Nothing is more opportune than starting with the lecture of emeritus professor José Pastore, who, in his style, gave us an insight into the challenges that await the educational world to attend training for work in the face of the transformations of technology, environments and society. The synthesis of his restlessness was expressed in the thesis of his questioning: “How will the work of the future be?”

It is needless to challenge his evaluative ability to reflect on what comes next.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution emerges for society in a global perspective, in its scale, scope and impact of complexity, unlike anything we have experienced previously. The exponential growth of technologies and their emerging applications in areas such as artificial intelligence, robotics, internet of things, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage and quantum computing are unprecedented, transforming sectors of civil society, especially education.

With this axis, the Forum impacted the participants with a focus on deepening and understanding of knowledge. One of the lectures that greatly broadened this perspective was that of the head of Science and Technology Studies of the World Economic Forum,Thomas Philbeck, who disseminated the concept when he published in January 2016 the report “The Future Jobs”, considered a divisor of waters on the importance of rethinking the knowledge and skills for 21st century society.

The data presented highlight the process of the automation of work and the importance of the educational sector to assume the development of new skills, not specific to certain areas of knowledge, but which value human intelligence, solve complex problems, creativity, team work and communication.

Philbeck made clear the need to redraw new spaces that guide knowledge in its broadest sense of the future, including the creation or redesign of curricula, which are now designed and built to drive demands that prepare people for economic jobs  and social realities.

The report by the McKinsey Global Institute, with its alarming data, shows that robots could replace 800 million jobs by 2030 meaning that a “skill revolution” needs to be launched to open up a host of new opportunities.

A highlight was the presentation of successful practices of Brazilian and American institutions. In Brazil, the Celso Lisboa University Center, which, with daring, creativity, teamwork and the redesign of learning spaces, has structured a methodology aimed at the development of skills and competencies, allowing students digital and entrepreneurial fluency, the traditional curriculum and knowledge. All this, being able to align the regulatory processes of the Ministry of Education – MEC.

One of the great differentials of the future is knowledge-based economies, rooted in science and technology, globally interdependent and driven by innovation. In addition, a vibrant and innovative economy depends heavily on the knowledge and skills of the workforce, driven still in Brazil by the university sector, responsible for forming this mindset in this new generation of graduates.

Countries around the world are beginning to follow these trends and reshaping their education systems to focus on strengthening these skills, which are delivered in the form of new learning experiences, such as solving real problems, as an important strategy to create such skills. culture of practical achievements from university experience. This new perspective is an important lever to put the University to a new level, where the projects of life, career and employability, become central in the process of engagement and permanence of these students.

Unlike training for work, this perspective is focused on the effective development of skills, knowledge and capacity to innovate, which impact on the workforce and social inclusion. It was the one that most caught the attention in the presentation of Stefani Lindquist, vice-rector of the University of Arizona. It also presented challenges and opportunities such as the connection of higher education with the world of work, problem-oriented curricula, predictive analysis, scale efficiency and student stay in university.

Liz McMillen, editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education, highlighted the importance of reviewing education models to meet the technological and future demands of work, including preparing for the full proficiency of skills such as coordination with others, people management, creativity , solving complex problems, fundamental to living with autonomy in the current and permanent scenario of transformations and changes. For her, new models such as certifications, career services and counseling and more open training models, become important trends that must be observed throughout the educational segment.

There are many barriers and challenges to be overcome in Brazilian education from the elementary school to higher education, avoiding the mismatch between universities and the world of work that is real and enormous.

The FNESP left a lot of reflection to be exercised, some questions that need common joint efforts, such as reorganizing the design of educational institutions, which are still extremely hierarchical, rooted in regulatory, curricular and content models that are neither creative nor innovative.

The lectures inspired and motivated the planning of more concrete actions for the real challenges of higher education.

We need to go beyond the obvious in the offering of new programs, in the market to attract and keep students. Developing a strategic and collaborative intelligence to innovate, act and transform the unstable scenario and deep transformations in Brazil is urgent and should be part of the higher education agenda.

Thinking about the future of work is much more than the generation of jobs. It is necessary to consolidate guidelines for sustainable development, citizenship, information sharing and social inclusion. Hence the importance that governments, companies, students, society, educational institutions, teachers and scholars unite in order to follow the innovations that will sooner or later be happening.