With AI and automation becoming a central part of business processes globally, education seeks more transformation in order to prepare the future workforce. However, students can be prepared for the future only when there will be an upgradation in the skills of the educators. But, unfortunately, upskilling of the teaching staff across the global education system is a rarely discussed matter among employers.
People Matters spoke with Geetika Goel, Head of Technology, Hero Vired to understand the importance of handing over technology to educators in order to prepare them to teach the future workforce.
Here are some excerpts from the conversation:
To what extent has AI and automation already affected the education system and what is going to be the picture 10 years from now?
AI and automation have been synonymous with the education sector for the past 3-4 years. Unfortunately, it took a pandemic for everyone to notice that the online learning platforms were doing a good job of imparting personalised training to people. A one-size-fits-all approach is no longer acceptable in this sector. These technologies have helped personalise the learning journey of each student, empowering them to learn better. Additionally, it provides relevant content for students to learn from. Assessments have become adaptive in nature, meaning the complexity of questions depends upon the ability one shows in answering simple questions. This helps people to understand their strong and weak points and work accordingly, rather than a general pass or fail mark.
A lot of jobs today will be replaced by the new jobs created as per the requirement and technology available. Organisations across the world are already developing and implementing a planned learning journey for their employees to keep them future-ready.
In an article, Forbes stated, “It’s been predicted that 85% of the jobs that will be available in 2030 don’t yet exist!” Amid such a scenario, what do you think about the relevance of the skills imparted to the present faculty workforce?
With technology growing leaps and bounds with new innovative ideas, organisations will need to stay abreast of the recent industry trends. The present job market is highly competitive, and even entry-level roles require a certain skill set. This trend is foreseen to strengthen even further, necessitating lifelong learning and upskilling.
The best example would be how teachers learned the digital tools to ensure seamless education during the lockdowns. So, it’s crucial to provide learning opportunities for them and keep them updated with the latest technology and innovation. This is not restricted to only technological knowledge. Developing emotional intelligence is equally important, if not more, to manage these changes. Specially, a switch from a traditional in-person classroom to a virtual class can be very challenging, where the teachers can’t see what students are doing unless they keep their videos on.
The upshot of this will be an increased focus on employee skill expansion, and the best way to address that challenge is to make employees equal partners in their professional development.
This will not only be beneficial for the employees but will help the company retain talent and grow its business.
The future workforce will work closely with AI and automation, and they are still pursuing their education. Under such a scenario, how significant do you think it is to train educators with AI skills in order to build a future-ready workforce?
I think it’s equally important to train both the students and the educators. While upskilling, lifelong learning and skill development were considered as viable solutions for experienced professionals only, they are no longer restricted to this employment group anymore. The shortage of skilled and qualified teachers is a major challenge that has plagued our education system. Traditional teacher training programmes are unstructured and not continual.
Skilled teachers are vital to ensure quality education, promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, and prepare students for a dynamic future.
The common guiding set of National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST), as proposed by New Education Policy 2020, is being developed by the National Council for Teacher Education, which is a right step in this direction. Upskilling would help them stay relevant, especially in virtual classrooms. Various organisations are also ensuring that the teachers are also equipped with the know-how of various technologies and digital tools to provide a seamless learning experience. When it comes to AI, it is important for teachers to understand what AI is and how it impacts the experience that a learner gets. If they understand how AI can be used for different scenarios, it becomes easy for them to accept and explain these new personalised features of the new-age virtual learning platforms.
What should be the first step of the schools to upskill the teachers?
As a first step, teachers should be introduced to technologies and gadgets. Teachers are trying to come out of their comfort zone and take on the responsibility for their own professional development.
With hybrid learning becoming the new normal, being abreast with the learning tools will help teachers come up with various teaching methods.
They can adopt correct procedures to gain students' confidence and help them to learn more effectively. The time is right for us to focus on the continuous development and upskilling of teachers. As learners become smarter, educators need to be a step ahead of the learning curve.