In an entry on the Asian Development Blog titled âThree ways Asia can inspire learning through skills tech,â Brajesh Panth, chief of the multilateral bankâs education sector group, said fast developments in technology can provide an opportunity for countries to utilize  frontier technologies for education.
In an entry on the Asian Development Blog titled “Three ways Asia can inspire learning through skills tech,” Brajesh Panth, chief of the multilateral bank’s education sector group, said fast developments in technology can provide an opportunity for countries to utilize frontier technologies for education.
Asia urged to use disruptive technologies to boost worker skills
Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) - February 4, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The rise of new technologies has raised fears of massive job loss in developing Asia but the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said countries can actually exploit these technologies to help narrow the widening gap between the skills possessed by their workforce and the needs of industries.

In an entry on the Asian Development Blog titled “Three ways Asia can inspire learning through skills tech,” Brajesh Panth, chief of the multilateral bank’s education sector group, said fast developments in technology can provide an opportunity for countries to utilize  frontier technologies for education.

Panth said education systems in developing countries in Asia face three main interrelated challenges.

First, despite improvements in the school attendance of school-age population across all levels, learning outcomes continue to be inferior.

Second, foundational skills developed in schools have remained stuck to reading, writing, and arithmetic whereas these now need to be extended to digital skills and soft skills to adequately prepare graduates.

Third, even with higher educational attainment, employers still struggle to find candidates with the right skills.

 “Closing the skills mismatch is imperative,” said Panth. “The radical disruptions that are taking place in the tech world provide an opportunity for countries that are able to harness these technologies for education.”

Advancements in Big Data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), for instance, have enabled specialized firms to mine data from professional job portals, company databases, and government databases to identify the skills in demand.

Armed with this information, along with analysis on emerging and dying occupations, governments can establish dynamic labor market intelligence systems to provide real-time labor market information for job seekers.

 “Countries in developing Asia can benefit tremendously from such systems that inform education and training institutions to prepare learners,” Panth said.

Singapore, for instance, is using big data analytics to help individuals prepare skills profiles to identify any skills gaps and pursue training to reduce them.

This support is also available for enterprises and schools. The government has also launched the Skills Future program to provide lifelong learning opportunities with vouchers to upgrade skills from different training providers.

Learning management systems (LMS), said Panth, can integrate all the key elements of an education system to enhance learning for all. These include data from students, teachers, and parents, as well as teaching and learning materials, assessments, and partnerships with employers.

 “This kind of Big Data application raises the quality of teaching, tracks learning performance, assesses the effectiveness of learning materials, and gathers feedback on the skills that are most critical for future employers,” he said.

In Korea, for instance, there are learning platforms that provide specialized learning  on drone technology and robotics. Depending on the interest of learners and school management, it will be possible to choose which areas are most in demand.

Panth said that for the government, it can promote areas that yield the highest return and promote equity through efficient use of its scarce resources.

He noted that education systems should focus on preparing human resources that are resilient, enduring, and continuously trainable.

“There is reason for optimism and great potential to leverage technology to transform teaching and learning to improve learning and labor market outcomes. For countries in developing Asia, it will require a tremendous amount of political will and effective leadership to leapfrog to strategic programs and investment in education and skills development in partnerships with traditional and new partners,” Panth said.

 “Instead of worrying about the consequences of AI and robotics, let’s focus first on finding more effective and innovative solutions to prepare a new generation of learners to adapt and manage new technologies for better education and labor market outcomes,” he said.

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