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Preparing for the robots: Which skills for 21st century jobs?

Christian Bodewig's picture
Technology and big data can help capture and better understand the evolution of occupations and technical skills needs in real time: Just let the robots work for us. Photo by Justin MorganCC BY

The robots are coming and are taking our jobs. Or are they? The media and the blogosphere have been buzzing lately about the impact of artificial intelligence and robotics on our lives. In particular, the debate on the impact of automation on employment has amplified concerns about the loss of jobs in advanced economies. And accelerating technological change points the spotlight on questions like: Do workers, blue and white collar alike, possess the right skills for a changing labor market? Are they prepared for the employment shocks that come with the so-called “fourth industrial revolution”? What skills strategy should countries adopt to equip their workforces for the 21st century?

The gamification of education

Mariam Adil's picture

Also available in: Español

Randomania" simulates the challenges of designing randomized control trials for health and education interventions.
Changing behavior is tough. It is tough to quit smoking, to save more money, or to choose walking up the stairs over an elevator. Behavior change becomes even tougher when it’s compounded with the challenges of poverty.
 

Implementing stronger and more credible student assessment systems

Alan Ruby's picture
Students in a READ-financed Mozambique program take their exams. Photo by Jem Heinzel Nelson

Ed: This guest post is by Alan Ruby, senior scholar at the University of Pennsylvania’s Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy who also serves as a consultant to the World Bank, an adviser to  the Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan, the Head Foundation in Singapore, and the American Institutes of Research. 

Nearly 50 years ago, 40 classmates and I spent the last two weeks of November taking our higher school certificate examinations. In a cavernous, hot, and poorly ventilated hall, we sat in widely-spaced rows, writing essays, solving mathematics and science problems, and answering multiple-choice questions. 

Second Chances: Giving Dhaka’s slum children an opportunity to go back to school

Mabruk Kabir's picture
12-year old Rafiq, selling ‘chotpoti’, a popular snack in Bangladesh. Photo Credit: Mabruk Kabir/World Bank

Deep in the winding alleys of a Dhaka slum, business was booming. Rafiq, an entrepreneurial 12-year-old, was selling snacks out of a makeshift food cart – and his customers couldn’t get enough.

The most effective services for well-rounded higher education students in India

Jessica Lee's picture
The blogger (back row, second from right) joined discussions with several university students in India.

A few months ago, I met with over 100 undergraduate and graduate students at seven different technical institutions in the Indian states of Maharashtra and Karnataka, as part of the Government of India – World Bank supported Technical Education Quality Improvement Program (TEQIP II). It took a bit of time for all of us to feel comfortable – how awkward can it get when you are summoned to participate in a meeting with a guest visitor? But, ultimately, we were able to talk freely and even joke a bit.

Resilience, refugees, and education for change

Harry A. Patrinos's picture


As the world struggles to cope with the stream of refugees coming out of Syria, there is an urgent need to advance education opportunities. This is not to just thwart radicalization, as United Nations special envoy for global education Gordon Brown argues, but to ensure that we invest in building refugee children’s human capital.

Putting a human face to statistics on vulnerable youth in Sub-Saharan Africa

Keiko Inoue's picture
Also available in: Français
Around 89 million youth, ages 12-24 years, are out of school in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In 2013, we went to Liberia to find better answers to this question: who are the vulnerable youth? We wanted to put a human face to statistics. Analysis of statistical data revealed that some youth are more vulnerable than others.  Rural youth, young mothers, ex-combatant youth, poor youth, and poorly-educated youth are especially at risk.

La jeunesse vulnérable d’Afrique subsaharienne : donner un visage aux statistiques

Keiko Inoue's picture
Also available in: English
Environ 89 millions de jeunes âgés de 12-24 ans ne sont pas scolarisés en Afrique subsaharienne

Qui sont les jeunes vulnérables ? C’est pour tenter d’apporter des réponses plus satisfaisantes à cette question que nous nous sommes rendues, en 2013, au Libéria (a). Nous voulions donner un visage à des statistiques qui montraient que certains jeunes étaient plus vulnérables que d’autres, notamment les jeunes vivant en milieu rural, les jeunes mères, les anciens combattants, les pauvres et ceux qui n’ont pas assez d’instruction.

The knowledge capital imperative

Eric A. Hanushek's picture
Without quality education, there is little hope for countries to obtain the requisite long run growth.

Ed: This guest post is by Professor Eric A. Hanushek, a Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. Join us online on January 28, 2016 to listen to Prof. Hanushek as he discusses his latest book “The Knowledge Capital of Nations”.
 
In September 2015, the United Nations adopted an aggressive development agenda that included 17 separate Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) designed to guide investment and development over the next 15 years. Two of these assume particular importance because they will determine whether or not the other 15 can be achieved. 

Back to the future: An ancient Roman rhetorician’s views on education

Jeffrey Waite's picture
Also available in: Français
Students sitting on the site of ancient Roman ruins. Photo by Penn State / CC BY

Browsing in my local second-hand bookstore over the end-of-year holidays, I came across “Institutes of Oratory”, written by Marcus Fabius Quintilianus around 90 C.E.  In reading the first chapters of this work, I was struck by the number of precepts concerning education that are still very relevant to today’s school systems.
 

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