Change education in ‘age of robots’

Seamus Nevin IoD
Seamus Nevin IoD
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Business leaders have launched a radical plan to transform education in the age of automation.

The Institute of Directors believes it is time to ditch today’s education structure, which dates back to the 19th century, and increase the use of technology in education including ‘Massive Open Online Courses’ (Moocs) to reduce costs and give more people access.

It also wants curricula drawn up by education experts and businesses free from political interference and to scrap ‘exam factories’ that test students’ recall of information, because computers are far better at it than humans.

Other proposals include providing tailored advice on how to succeed at work, shifting careers advice away from CV writing and introducing tax incentives to encourage people to return to education.

Seamus Nevin, head of employment and skills at the IoD, said huge changes were necessary for the UK to adapt to a future in which more and more work is taken over by robots or computers.

He added: “History has shown that each major technological revolution, from steam power to the invention of the digital circuit, has created more jobs than it destroyed. There is every reason to believe this trend will continue, but with technological change moving at a pace never seen before, and reaching into more areas of the workplace, we must act now to prepare ourselves.

“The basic structure of the UK education system dates from the mid-19th century, and has changed little.

“Technology is already integral to most jobs, but it will increasingly take on tasks that can currently only be done by people. Future employees will have to be adept at working alongside technology.”