An Emergency for the World of Education: Adapting to the Digital Revolution

We are on the precipice of what the World Economic Forum calls the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 3D printing, internet of things, artificial intelligence, big data, driverless vehicles, virtual reality, mobile supercomputing and so on and so forth.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution builds on the previous ones, which respectively introduced mechanization, followed by mass production and then automation. The Forth Industrial Revolution involves a fusion of technologies that bring together the physical, digital, and biological spheres. The rate of change associated with this revolution is exponential rather than linear, making it difficult to anticipate the educational needs of populations.

In the previous revolutions the early adopters gained vast wealth while the rest existed on what they could glean from selling raw materials needed by the industrialized countries. This time around, those left behind might not even have much to sell as natural resources run out and sustainable extraction becomes too costly.

How can we ensure that people, in particular in the developing world can participate in and reap riches from the new information and technology economy? Experts predict that those who cannot join the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ will face chronic, deepening inequality and poverty.

In the backdrop of the pace at with the new technology is proliferating countries particularly in the developing world need to adopt new approaches to impart both technical and non – technical skills to their citizens.