We are in the midst of what the World Economic Forum calls the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’.
The First Industrial Revolution in the 18th century included the transition from hand production methods to machines using water and steam to power this. The Second, also known as the Technological Revolution, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries used electric power to generate mass production. The Third, or Digital Revolution, used electronics and IT to systemise production. Now a Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the previous one. Marked by emerging technologies in a number of diverse fields including: robotics, AI, nano- and bio- technology, quantum computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), fifth-generation wireless technologies (5G), 3D printing and self-driving cars, the future is here, now.
What is the potential impact of this on education?
Numerous articles suggest that many of today’s jobs may become obsolete and that our challenge is to prepare students for an unknown future; to an extent, this may be true. However, what is becoming more apparent is that numeracy, literacy and an understanding of how the world operates are all essential if one is to succeed as a valuable member of society (and as an employee). A broader education, rather than a more limited one in scope, is becoming increasingly important in the future where science students need to understand the geopolitical and social aspects of the world in which they live, whilst the humanities students need some, at least, basic understanding of the way AI operates given its current exponential growth and range of applications. A second implication is that people must have the skills to work with both the new and emerging technologies as well as each other.
Our post-16 International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) offers our students all of the above in abundance. Studies across the Sciences, Humanities, Maths, Languages and Arts, in addition to the core components of the Extended Essay, CAS and TOK, give our young people the breadth of knowledge and skills to be able to work effectively with both ‘man and machine’ in harmony. This is the advantage of the IBDP.
Brian Irving, Head of Secondary