There is a scene in the popular TV drama Humans where the bright ‘A’ Level student turns to her mum and says, “what’s the point in studying and going to uni when the knowledge of a surgeon or a lawyer can be down loaded into a Synth in ten minutes” . Judging by her mothers response as an excuse for not doing your home work this is a wining argument in the future. In this parallel universe Synths ( synthetics) are intelligent domestic appliances, what we once called robots and when they started to look like us, androids.
There are plenty of people in this universe concerned about what will happen when machines can learn and become intelligent. This may be some time off but the question of what should schools teach and what skills does industry and commerce want school / university leavers to have is topical. More so now that those in industry and commerce have more say in what schools teach plus today’s students want courses that lead to jobs.
Employers are saying the education system is producing people who are not needed. Filling people’s heads with knowledge they say is no longer important because you can know anything when you need it via the Internet. So what skills do employers want? What is it that a human can offer that even an intelligent machine can’t?
As a director I was very active in developing and appointing managers. The role of the manager has changed dramatically in recent years in part due to technology but more so because of austerity, and the drive to reduce overheads, a reduction in management posts and an increase in spans of responsibility.
Managers find they are no longer doing the job they were appointed to do, they are expected to manage services they have no background in, no experience of and no knowledge of. They need to be able to analyse complex information, to posses negotiation skills, a set of profession values, a willingness to take responsibility, the ability to motivate staff, confidence in their own abilities and insight into how their behaviour affects others.
So are schools and university laying down the necessary foundations? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.