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The future workforce must learn to reskill all their lives: IE-Brown University conference

Posted on Monday, April 22, 2019

The 10th Reinventing Higher Education conference held at Brown University, explored options to deal with technological disruptions through human revolution, creating strong education ecosystem, and making talent market global, reports Priyanka Srivastava

Role of universities needs to transform with the changing demand of the market. Since the future job roles will be different, it is necessary for universities to teach the importance of learning, placing a premium on high-order skills. Besides innovative pedagogies, human capital can survive on adaptability and flexibility to deal with technological disruptions. 
At the 10th International Reinventing Higher Education Conference ‘Building the Human Capital of Tomorrow: a Global Responsibility,’ organised jointly by IE University, Spain, and Brown University, USA, academics from 20 countries brainstormed on the need to change the workforce. Creating efficient, equitable and effective models for education delivery was called upon by the stakeholders at the conference held in Brown campus in Providence. “Curiosity, versatility, leadership and other cognitive skills have emerged as the major requirements for the changing paradigm of higher education,” said Christina Paxson, president, Brown University. “Young students are sensitive about technology, positive about AI, and are willing to learn. They need to understand the ever-changing direction of technology,” said Du Peng, vice president, Renmin University of China. 
Inclusiveness must find a place in the universities, said Elsa del Castillo, rector, Universidad del Pacifico, Peru. In a session, Castillo highlighted how students are fighting corruption, striving to achieve gender equality and democratisation in many rural areas. 
While technology has been blamed as the main reason for causing disruption, Ahmed Hasnah, president of Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Qatar, pointed at the evolution of new education patterns. “Technology should not be taken as a tumour, it is not here to replace jobs but to provide a space to thrive. This will lead to the evolution of courses, elevate ability in multidisciplinarity, diversity and competency-based learning,” said Hasnah. 
In his keynote address, Jim Yong Kim, former president of World Bank Group (US) pointed at the changing skill requirement largely due to changing technology. “There is a rise in hybrid skilling in workplaces. Teamwork, management and getting along with different cultures and developing social behaviour are the key requirement,”said Kim, urging the audience to understand where the world is going with higher education. 
Highlighting the gap between industry-academia, Meghan Hughes, president, Community College of Rhode Island, US, said the educators are taking things on to themselves instead of connecting with the industry. “Better to build companies that are ready to take students with flexible schedules and ability to learn all their lives,” added Meghan. 
Technology is getting a meaningful blend with creativity, said Rosanne Somerson, president, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). “Design industry is looking for augmented managers to work with AI. World is looking for entrepreneurs, for which students must become a survivor, flexible and participative,” said Somerson.



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