It’s been more than a year of living through a COVID-19 and there seems to be no real end in sight as countries continue to record high numbers, despite the arrival of vaccines. As we navigate our way out of the pandemic, it’s important that we place an emphasis on the adoption of digital skills in education, as well as the workplace.
“Digital means a myriad of micro interactions across channels today and there are numerous touch points that our future generations will need to understand to deal with and ‘think of their feet’ to be innovative.” – Mike Vasavada, Mobi CEO
Digital Education – how is it going?
Our future leaders need to be across topics such as design thinking, user pattern modeling, data science and consumer predictive analysis design. This means digital foundations need to be built in education and right now that has not been the case.
“The innovative capacity of technology is very much conditioned by the level of digital skills of population. No wonder there is very strong correlation between education and skills and the uptake and use of digital technologies in various spheres of life. The role of education and skills in promoting innovation is critical.” – OECD
The OECD report goes on to say that despite the massive potential for digitalisation, the impact of digital technologies on education itself has been shallow at best. Major investment in ICT in schools is needed, and no far this as not happened.
There is no denying that the pandemic has forced education institutions across the world to harness and use the technology tools available to keep their students learning. However, it is also clear that many educators and schools did not understand just how to use those tools as effectively as possible.
According to WeForum, these digital tools have helped educators to reach more students and encouraged a new way of doing things. It’s also proven greater flexibility resulting in potential benefits in accessibility to education for students everywhere.
COVID-19 has forced the education sector to adapt to the digital future and it whilst it’s imperative that these tools and habits continue, there also needs to be a push for greater digital thinking.
Digital skills gap in the workplace
“The pandemic has pushed societies to an inflection point where embracing technology is no longer an option but a necessity.”
COVID-19 has not only affected how schools operate, but it’s also given government and businesses a major push to start fully embracing digital technology.
Despite the rapid and major increase in businesses and government using technology and digital tools, many businesses, especially those in economies from the Global South, are ‘digitally disconnected’ with workers lacking the right skills to use these new digital tools.
The ‘digital skills gap’ that currently exists needs to be rectified if businesses are to build for the future.
In a Survey of Adults Skills conducted across OECD countries in 2016, 1 in 4 adults had no to limited experience with computers or lacked confidence in their ability to use computers. “In addition, nearly half of all adults are proficient only at or below Level 1 in problem solving in technology rich environments.”
Don’t be left behind
As technology continues to grow, workers are at risk of getting left behind if businesses and governments don’t take the necessary steps to increase and upgrade training programs to ensure the workforce is equipped with fundamental digital skills.
Whilst the rapid spread of technology accelerated by the pandemic has challenged the traditional boundaries of firms, changing global value chains and the geography of jobs, technology can also be a job creator. With digital technology increasing efficiency of businesses and helping them expand.
Digital platforms can also create entirely new occupations and jobs.
“To reshape technology as a job creator, it’s important to understand what, exactly, the current wave of technology is changing, and how policy makers and businesses can adapt to it.”
What needs to be done?
There needs to be a major and rapid uptake in digital tech skills training. Businesses and governments must lead the way in ensuring the workforce is adequately skilled to carry out digital tasks.
Businesses should consider apprenticeships to equip future workers with the right sets of skills.
It ‘s also necessary for educational institutions to be equipped with the right tools to embrace digital technology as they form the foundations of our ability to be innovative and think on our feet.
The only way we can truly reach the potential of ‘technovation’ is to ensure everyone is involved in embracing the culture of digital technology.
If you are a business looking to upskill your employees in the digital space, reach out to the Mobi team and we can see how we can assist you.