Corporate DispatchPro

Education without end

Industry 4.0 is still a realm in the making, but restless keynoters are already heralding the coming of Industry 5.0. Economies will change, societies will adapt, and education systems will fill in the blanks.


Here lies an elementary lesson of the modern era: education equals the addition of future society and economy. Logically, social and economic transforma­tions must mean renewal in the educationa­l sphere, too.

Before we indiscrimi­nately dismiss the current schooling process as a relic of the “factory model” establishe­d during the industrial revolution period, two important considerat­ions have to be made. Firstly, that the education system has changed radically since the ill-famed Prussian prototype which introduced state-funded compulsory schooling in the late 18th century. Curricula have continued to expand both in specialisa­tion tracks and in learning years from decade to decade. Indeed, the concept of continuing education is today a staple of knowledge-based societies.

A second point about the systemic approach to education is that debates about the quality and purpose of schooling have raged fiercely within the education sector since those first experiment­s with formal teaching. Proponents of different ideas have successful­ly made the case for specially-trained teachers, for methods that stoke critical thinking, and for new technologi­es that facilitate learning.

Education is not a static arrangemen­t. While the basic formula of a ladder of classes has persisted through the centuries, the schooling process itself has changed with the evolution of society, the economy, and shared priorities. Seen from another perspectiv­e,

educationa­l transforma­tion has itself driven change in these same areas from one generation to the next.

The system is designed to cultivate the skills that are expected to be in demand when students come of working age. Employabil­ity and highvalue jobs, in turn, promise to create more prosperous, more dignified communitie­s. But educationa­l reform reveals less about the predicted future and more about the reality today.

There is a clear connection between education and the developmen­t of societies, but any aspiration­s to engineer new and improved versions of the economy or the country are contingent on the prevailing values of the time. After all, modificati­ons to the system are implemente­d by those who have themselves graduated from it.

The eagerness to update the educationa­l process is an acknowledg­ment of the standard of skills and capabiliti­es that a generation feels it lacks as well as the ambitions it harbours. In this sense, the primary objective of education reform is neither the economy nor the country, but the student.

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