Tvets need digital tech to accelerate job creation
Digitisation is rapidly changing the skills-sets needed in diverse fields by virtue that employers are searching for human resources with proficiencies in artificial intelligence, automation, big data and collaborative technologies.
The World Economic Forum, underlines that the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) is evolving the physical learning environment, and to accommodate and encourage the uptake of digital skills.
These are developments ushering in unprecedented scientific and technological advances with capabilities to green the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (Tvet) education ecosystem. The re-engineering is impacting both how traditional markets are operating and the expertise that will enable Tvet learners to stay relevant and benefit from 4IR.
To create synergy in the wake of greening the education ecosystem, Tvet institutions have to adopt digital innovation, adaptive to deliver intended learning outcomes through digital-driven applications delivery to accelerate creation of green jobs.
Green jobs tackle economic downturn and environmental degradation. The proficiencies of 4IR necessitate acquisition of inventive competences that enable beneficiaries adapt and benefit from digital adaptation which transforms the nature of learning as well as instill them with technical acumen to contour within the changing societal dynamics of the tech-driven world of work.
As the pace of digital transformation evolves, its relevance to investment in new digital technologies for Tvet is inevitable. To begin with, Tvet learning experiences and knowledge sharing can be made more flexible through simulation-based learning techniques. Moreover, flipped classroom learning through open educational resources (OER) and artificial intelligence (AI). Adaptive learning, robotics, blockchain and gamification, can equally change the dichotomy of traditional on-site learning. Specifically, AI has capabilities for categorisation, machine learning, and collaborative filtering. These can be leveraged upon to analyse data at a scale and depth that were previously impossible, thus paving the way for new areas of research and discovery within Tvet institutions.
The UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, 2021 points out that human-centred AI, built on ethical design principles are used in line with accepted universal values, requires human-centred AI governance. This demands for Tvet institutions to be agile and adaptable to form robust responses to the changes being driven by AI. More so, the use of AI in teaching and learning has capacity to embody teachers and instructors within Tvet institutions to improve learning assessments to assess interdisciplinary skills of students’ competencies.
Essentially, the optimal performance of AI ought to be supported by ubiquitous computing technologies that provide Tvet institutions access to information and computing power through the worldwide web.
Fundamentally, there are numerous 4IR that Tvet can lever on to green the learning value chain. It is important to appreciate the capability emerging technologies are providing and the automation of routine tasks, requires that policies focus on anticipating skills needs and areas of deskilling through regular labour market scans using emerging technology. Teaching transversal skills and improving the responsiveness of Tvet education to emerging trends requires close cooperation between education, research and industry.
Critically, Tvet stakeholders must devise mechanism to ensure that internet access and utilisation of 4IR is a reality in rural areas. Importantly, a key focal point for Tvet institutions is the investment of accessible and inclusive technology for people with disabilities to onboard them on the opportunities being provided for by 4IR.
— The writer is a communication and public policy analyst