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Education takes us to the future. In the knowledge economy, it enables us to access the jobs of the future. What ...
Education takes us to the future. In the knowledge economy, it enables us to access the jobs of the future. What kind of education? What concept of work are we talking about? We are in the era of diversity.
By Martin Padulla for staffingamericalatina
The concept of human diversity refers to the variety there is within the category of human. Every human being has features that he/she shares with other members of the human species. However, every person has a series of special features, capacities, and dispositions that make them unique, and set them apart from other humans.
Diversity is inherent to human nature. It contains the possibility of enriching social and cultural relationships.
We refer to the concept of difference when we face a subjective assessment that entails a value judgement on diversity. Furthermore, we face an uneven playground when hierarchies are created based on social, economic, political, religious, sexual, ethnic, or gender variables.
The era of diversity transcends minorities’ struggles and conquests. It is a change of time that includes us all.
In the area of education, a lot is said about education in and for diversity. However, little is said about educating from diversity. There are already diverse forms of education based on the exponential development of technology, globalization, and the possibility of accessing content that comes from the most prestigious sources of the world. School, as we know it, makes no sense: it was a perfect answer for the needs of the industrial period. Today, the challenge is to find answers that fit the challenge of digitalization. There are interesting examples.
The MOOCs phenomenon (Massive Open Online Courses) is already changing the way people gain knowledge. These are online courses addressed to an unlimited number of participants. Over 800 universities from all over the world already offer thousands of online courses, and many of them are for free.
The Edutubers are YouTube creators that offer education contents of diverse areas to users. Learning is also being democratized through these channels. Last year, in Latin America, videos under the title “How to do” generated 4.5 billion hours viewed in the platform, Around 80% of users in the region point out that YouTube is their first choice when they need to learn something new. In 2018, YouTube invested USD 20 million to improve the experience for both, content creators and users.
Clearly, the analogic school already has diverse digital formats. Education, as we know it, is becoming vaguer. The old way of learning, focused on knowing, memorizing, standardizing, leaves room to the need of developing skills that promote critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, innovation, and a kind of thinking that connects and goes beyond different disciplines. Initiatives such as Flipped Classroom, Blended Learning, or the COOL project (Communities of Online Learning) that enables New Zealand families to choose between analogic or digital education for their children, are just examples of these attempts to interpret the new order of things. Labour training is also diverse, and uses different tools that in certain countries are active employment policies that link public and private employment services.
The fact is that work, as we know it today, does not make sense either. Labour markets tend to be more dynamic, volatile and unpredictable. Transitions tend to become more frequent. Work as we use to know it no longer dominates the modern world. A few years ago, the ILO used to talk about standard employment and atypical forms of employment. Such denomination has become obsolete as empirical evidence shows that the so called standard employment represents less than 30% of global employment. The trend shows that we are most likely facing a decrease of employment and an increase of work. There is a clear diversity of labour forms, of different types of labour relationships against a new industrial order with a clear conversion of manufacture into services. Just like the frontier between services and industries has become blurry, the line that divides employment and work has blurred, even though labour markets in Latin America have still not learn this and certain social actors resist the inevitable.
The Human Cloud phenomenon includes different forms of work, of working conditions and localization. This creates challenges that imply new management models and even the reinvention of the corporate world. A scattered, distributed, remote and with a longer life expectancy workforce.
The era of diversity is here to remind us that sustainable development is inclusive, and entails democracy and freedom. It is here to tell us that we need an agenda that focuses on people, a new social contract. We can no longer keep applying 20st century solutions to 21st century challenges,
Populism and nationalism are a reaction against diversity. The kind of diversity that transforms people, organizations, and public policies. The diversity that strengthens democracies, cultures, societies. The one that enables individuals to grow free.
We owe ourselves a new social contract. The speed of changes demands an urgent design of such framework that will no longer have owners such as those of Hobbes, Locke or Rousseau. It shall be the result of consensus based on freedom and citizens demands.
Nobody knows what the future will be like. We have few certainties in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. One of such certainties is conclusive: the conviction that we must co create the world based on diversity.
About Martin Padulla
Founder and Managing Director of staffingamericalatina. Martin Padulla is Sociologist (USAL), MBA (UCA) and labour markets expert. He published “Flexible Work in South America” and “Regulatory framework for private employment agencies in Latin America” two books about the new realities of work in Latin America. He is working on the project #FOWiberoamerica.
Follow Martín Padulla on Twitter: @MartinPadulla
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