THERE is a growing demand for talent in the changing digital world. The question is how will technology impact the different sectors of Malaysia’s workforce?
Firstly, the future workforce will need people equipped with digital skills to perform various roles. As such, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo was right to suggest that a technology stream be created in schools to tap the digital talent of the pupils. This call is also in alignment with the development of Education 4.0, which complements the needs of Industry 4.0.
The need for high school students to be exposed to technology-based education early is critical since they will be working with machines and managing automated processes that require sound technological knowledge. Schools must therefore start exposing students to the trends in automation and data exchange which include the Internet of Things, cloud computing, E-commerce and cyber-physical systems.
Beyond information technologists, future engineers and scientists will also be required to work with autonomous machines and support the architecture of green buildings, smart learning environments, intelligent transport systems, civil infrastructure monitoring, humanoid robots and many more. As technology permeates all aspects of life, the time is ripe for educational institutions to embrace innovation in their daily processes.
Secondly, rapid advances in information technology today have impacted the education sector by triggering new learning styles.
At the higher education level, the approach has changed from skills acquisition to encouraging learning by doing. Today, learning outcomes are accomplished via projects, field experience, personalised learning, internationalization and other practical experiences.
The current approach to higher education also includes industry partnerships. Programs like the Alibaba Global E-commerce Talent and modules from the IBM Innovation Center of Education can provide students the opportunity to develop industry-relevant skills which will prepare them for the digital economy. This new way of thinking provides a cutting-edge approach in teaching and learning delivery.
Let us not forget that besides the technological skills required to work on these automated machines, soft skills are equally important as innovation is built on human minds coming together in the sharing of ideas, opinions and beliefs which catapult technology to higher levels of efficiency.
Soft skills in collaboration, communication, interpersonal relationships and a positive attitude are the bedrocks to building future talents. In essence, technical skills will need to be supplemented with strong social and collaborative skills.
Success in the 21st century will be a hard battle between humans and machines, with many Malaysians already harbouring the fear of losing their jobs to digitalization. Thus, the time is ripe for schools to plant the seed of innovation and technology in their students to prepare them to remain relevant alongside their mechanical counterparts.
Developing talent through a dedicated stream would be highly encouraged as in this way, technology will be perceived as something fun and exciting. With the right stimulus, the earlier our younger generation is exposed to the culture of innovation, the better prepared they will be for the real world.
DESHINTA ARROVA DEWI
Faculty of Information Technology and Sciences
INTI International University