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Preparing students for 2029

Over the last century, the definition of jobs that kids aspire to has changed dramatically – from steam engine driver to may be an astronaut. In just another decade, the jobs that will be most sought after are likely to those that are as yet unheard of.

What would you like to do when you grow up?

This is a question that most of us have been asked at some point in our lives. It is also the question that deeply concerns students about to come out of school and their parents. Over the last century, the definition of jobs that kids aspire to has changed dramatically – from steam engine driver to may be an astronaut.

According to Forbes magazine, the most popular jobs of college graduates in 2016 were account manager, software engineer, customer service representative and administrative assistant.

In just another decade, the jobs that will be most sought after are likely to those that are as yet unheard of. Experts suggest that the top jobs in 2029 are likely to be:

  • Virtual Habitat Designer
  • Ethical Technology Advocate
  • Digital Cultural Commentator
  • Freelance Biohacker
  • Internet of Things Data Creative

Is it possible that the world we live in will change so fundamentally and dramatically that students who come out of school in 2029 will make careers in fields that we have no idea about at present? In his book, The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, says that we are at the starting point of the fourth industrial revolution which, unlike the industrial revolutions that have gone before it, will completely transform the way we live, work and interact with our social and economic environments. According to him, “This Fourth Industrial Revolution is, however, fundamentally different. It is characterized by a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human.”

The signs of changing times are already here. Technology is making many things possible that belonged to the realm of science fiction some years ago. For instance, automation of jobs that are repetitive – a store cashier is a good example. Liver transplants using 3D printing is almost a reality. We are living in a world where a sharing economy or collaborative consumption is becoming popular – Airbnb, Blah Blah Cars, Blockchain, Bitcoins are a few examples. Disruptive technologies are becoming commonplace. These are all signs that our world, as we know it, is transforming rapidly and exponentially.

So how do we, as educators, prepare our students for this new future?

It is becoming increasingly apparent that the jobs of the future will be interdisciplinary in nature. The top five jobs of 2029 will require the following skills:

  • Virtual Habitat Designer: architectural design, editing, psychology
  • Ethical Technology Advocate: communications, philosophy, ethics
  • Digital Cultural Commentator: art history, business studies, PR and marketing
  • Freelance Biohacker: biosciences, medical methodology, data analytics
  • IoT Data Creative: engineering, problem solving, communications and entrepreneurship

It is also evident that the new jobs will require a high degree of awareness of the self, social and creative intelligence, and the ability to constantly learn and change.

It is therefore imperative, more than ever before, to ensure that our students embrace the importance of understanding Swabhav and Swadharm, and develop a deep level of awareness and a sense of purpose.

We need to provide space for children to be themselves, to be curious, to discover that there is no on right answer. We need to create authentic learning opportunities and develop students’ ability to dialogue and reflect. We need to create high engagement levels.

We must instill values that encourage students to move away from identities, loyalties and fear and move towards strengthening the core by being self-aware. We require students to build trust and engage with the community. We need to curate life lessons and values from ancient wisdom to strengthen the sense of being.

We need to inculcate skills that focus on critical thinking, problem solving, solution mindedness, original thinking, collaboration, engagement in multiple perspectives and ability to discern.

Only then can we hope to create citizens of tomorrow. And only then can we ensure that our students will take advantage of the enormous opportunities that the future holds for them.

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