We are all familiar with the Singapore Dream. Study hard, get good grades, obtain a good degree, land an “iron rice bowl” job as a doctor, a lawyer or an engineer. That is the recipe for success that most of us grew up with.
As parents, we want only the best for our children. We are willing to spare thousands of dollars to place our children in the best position to live this dream. Parents start their children on tuition classes as early as at the age of seven, some even from pre-school. What do they spend this money on? Based on a recent study by The Straits Times, Mathematics stood out as the top subject for tuition, followed by English and Mother tongue.
The goal is to ensure their children keep up with their peers and improve their grades, while scoring well for national examinations. But is this trend shifting? Will parents ever see their “return on investments” on the time and resources pumped into these conventional tuition subjects?
In this age of technological disruption however, such linear pathways can no longer serve as recipes for success. As Apple’s CEO Tim Cook puts it, “If children can learn only one language other than their native one, it should be coding because “coding is a global language””. The jobs industry has seen rapid transformation, and even traditional “iron rice bowl” industries are no longer insulated. In the legal industry for example, there are already online portals that can provide basic legal advice; and many law firms are starting to see the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in performing due diligence and legal research. Medicine is not spared either, with the emergence of platforms that offer AI-driven medical consultations and treatment advice. Hospitals are also seeing the benefit of robotic surgery.
Jobs exist now that we have never heard of a decade ago (think drone operators and big data analysts). It is estimated that 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that do not yet exist. And with the maturing of technologies like AI, robotics and blockchain, this pace of change is only likely to get faster.
It then begs the question – how do we educate our children and prepare them for jobs that we do not know exist yet? In a future where change is the only constant, it would require a fundamental rethink both on the approach parents take in educating their children, or on the broader education system at large, where the ability to innovate and adapt to a future where it’s hard to know for sure what skills will be needed becomes ever more pertinent.
Want to learn more? Reach out to us! Mind & Hand is an EduTech platform that partners both educational industry players and private sector business employers to offer our students programmes that keep pace with technological change and that are relevant to the industry. We hope to empower our students with the skills, confidence and perspective to navigate the global skills crisis and prepare them for a workplace of the future.