"If you are a school today, what are you preparing your children for when they are moving into a world where they could live up to 120?"
This is the view of Rohit Talwar, chief executive of Fast Future, who is a keynote speaker at the 'Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC) for Independent schools in St Andrews, Scotland today. He continues:
"At the moment there is a view that we will train people to go into computer programming or to become a biologist. But we are not sure the jobs will be there when they come out. We need to make sure we teach them a set of life skills, like learning how to learn."
In an article in the Telegraph recently, he urges school leaders to urgently think about how to prepare children for the rapidly changing working world. He pointed to research that suggests that between 30 per cent and 80 per cent of all the jobs that exist today will vanish in the next 10 to 20 years as firms rely more on robots, warning of an impending "disconnect".
He compared the current technological revolution with previous changes through the agricultural and the industrial revolution. In his view, new industries will emerge but fewer jobs will be available to new generations. He said: "This time around, the new industries that are coming through are going to be very highly automated from day one. If you walk around a Tesla factory, you can't spot the humans. There are very few people there. You go to an Amazon warehouse now, there are no humans.
Mr Talwar said a growing life expectancy will mean youngsters alive today could potentially be working up to the age of 100 should they be able to secure a job.
So how can you deliver a traditional education in a transformational world?
Thinking about how we can make small changes now, to give our learners the best possible start to their future careers, how can you design an ICT strategy that supports your teachers and retain the classical elements of your proven educators, whilst enhancing the marketability of the students and also your school to prospective parents?
Your ICT should be a facilitator to your traditional education, much in the same way as you don’t have a ‘book lesson’ you wouldn’t need an ‘ICT lesson’. It should be embedded throughout your curriculum and provide tangible benefits. These benefits should of course be demonstrated in the educational achievements of your students, but you can also leverage your ICT excellence to support student recruitment.
The latest technologies have the wow factor and you can use this to your advantage within your marketing of the school. Overseas students, especially from tech-savvy countries such as China will be expecting this. You’ll also need to keep pace with the developments of your local competition, especially the nearby state schools which may be receiving sizeable funding for ICT – the potential to lose students as a result of poor ICT provision is a real risk.
If you'd like to look at ways to deliver effective ICT in an Independent school, download our new guide - 10 tips for effective ICT in Independent schools from www.rm.com/independent
You can also see how RM is helping a range of schools to improve life changes for learners across the UK at www.rm.com/flex