Views

Education as the cornerstone of the future economy

Educational technology and transnational education will provide students with leg-up as they enter workforce

The economy was previously organised upon a predictable ladder of development where the government-anticipated market demands ensured that Singapore had the right infrastructure and workforce in place.

But the increasingly nebulous future economy will require industry support to complement the efforts of the Government.

One sector that will spearhead the workforce evolution is education.

Singapore must re-examine the ways in which learning is provided to give Singaporeans a leg-up as they step into the workplace of the future.

The realm of education has seen great progress over the past decade with an increasing number of institutions allowing digital technologies to steer the wheel where classroom-learning is concerned.

This transformation is timely in an age when students are digital natives, and key to perpetuating further disruption and innovation in the sector is the notion of educational technology, also known as EdTech.

Projected to grow by 8 per cent to US$252 billion (S$339 billion) by 2020 globally, EdTech is about applying digital technology to enable personalised learning.

The next generation will have more opportunities to develop soft skills, adapt to change, and create innovative solutions.

Take free maths app, Miao, an educational aggregator that could level the playing field for students across different schools and backgrounds anytime, anywhere, for example.

The app allows students to snap and upload photos of a maths question and then provides results of the best solutions and similar questions for practice based on an algorithm that combines machine learning and natural language processing, which are components of artificial intelligence.

Institutions such as PSB Academy have already made its first forays into inculcating EdTech in its curriculum via solutions such as AcKtec.

With this cloud-based e-learning platform, students can revise for examinations remotely, at their own time and pace.

As employability increasingly relies on one's ability to pivot and pick up new skills quickly, schools must embrace a flexible, EdTech-friendly learning environment to enable advancements in education efforts.

As we move towards a highly connected future, there is a greater need for convergence, and the ability to "play well" with others will be vital for the modern workplace. To help Singaporeans assimilate to cross-border communication early on, educational institutions can start by encouraging exposure beyond the usual industrial attachments and internships.

Schools should make transnational education a part of their curriculum through tapping on an immersive international experience to help students grow more cognisant of the effects of globalisation.

As all these students navigate through a foreign environment, they will be inadvertently compelled to exercise soft skills such as sharing and negotiating, which makes for the growth of more socially and emotionally intelligent graduates.

This experience thus serves as a great launchpad in helping students acclimatise to foreign cultures and building a global network of contacts, all while they complete their education.

As the way we work continues to grow more collaborative, an educational experience steeped in broad-based global learning helps students to stay relevant and resilient in the face of a constantly changing environment.

The writer is chief executive officer at PSB Academy.

Education