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World has 5 years to change how to earn, learn and care – WEF

Jan 05 2017 06:01

Cape Town – The World Economic Forum (WEF) said the world has between three to five years to change how it earns, learns and cares in order to transition effectively into a new world order.

Saadia Zahidi, WEF’s Head of education, gender and work, said transforming education ecosystems, creating a care economy and managing the transition to a new world of work require political will, innovative policy, new financing models and, most importantly, a new mindset.

She was writing on the WEF website ahead of the Davos conference of government and business leaders on January 17.

“The rapid pace of change means we need to act urgently,” she said. “By some estimates the current window of opportunity for action is three-to-five years.

READ: World Economic Forum designs road map to survive new world order

“This may sound daunting but there are a large variety of robust success stories to learn from and emulate. There are also substantial new commercial opportunities – such as adult education, care services, employment services – that make this space ripe for public-private collaboration.”

She said it is “the only viable path if we want to get ahead of the transition underway and turn this moment of flux into an opportunity for revitalising growth and realizing human potential in the age of the fourth industrial revolution”.

Her piece appeared alongside the release of the WEF whitepaper titled, “Realising human potential in the fourth industrial revolution: an agenda for leaders to shape the future of education, gender and work”.

“To do any of this – and to make it pay off – it is critical that policy design includes agile multistakeholder governance, empowerment of the individual, objective measurement, universal access and long-term planning as fundamental tenets.”

According to Zahidi, the three things that need changing are:

1. Transform education ecosystems

"Most education systems are so far behind the mark on keeping up with the pace of change today and so disconnected from labour markets that nothing short of a fundamental overhaul will suffice in many economies.

"The eight key areas of action here are early childhood education, future-ready curricula, a professionalized teaching workforce, early exposure to the workplace, digital fluency, robust and respected technical and vocational education, openness to education innovation, and critically, a new deal on lifelong learning."

2. Facilitate the transition to a new world of work

"While there are deeply polarised views about how technology will impact employment, there is agreement that we are in a period of transition.

"Policy needs to catch up and facilitate this transition. We propose four areas of action: recognition of all work models and agile implementation of new regulations, updated social protection, adult learning and continuous re-skilling, and proactive employment services."

3. Advance the care economy

"Often undervalued and unregulated, care is one of the most fundamental needs among both young and old populations. It has a strong impact on education, and holds potential for job growth.

"We propose six areas of action: recogniae and value care as a vital sector of the economy, professionalise the care workforce, rebalance paid and unpaid work responsibilities, expand high-quality care infrastructure, create new financial provisions to facilitate care, and use technology as a tool for balancing care and work."

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