US near bottom on preparedness for an automated society
- Of the developed nations best positioned for success in the age of automation, the U.S. ranks ninth according to a recent study profiled in the Hechinger Report; a dismal prospect for the country with the world's most well-regarded collection of colleges and universities.
- While there is great uncertainty about how most countries will contend with the rapidly changing development and use of technology, some countries are looking to keep up with the changes with adaptation in secondary and higher education. In Singapore, residents are given stipends to pay for government-offered courses which can be taken any time over the course of their lives.
- One researcher says that the responsibility will fall on nations, not institutions, to drive the technological imperative of the future. “Very few countries are taking the bull by the horns when it comes to adapting education systems for the age of automation,” Saadia Zahidi, head of education, gender and employment for the World Economic Forum.
In the most recent Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) international tests for 15-year-old students taken in 71 developed countries, the U.S. averaged a 31st place finish in science and mathematics assessment. These scores are knowledge base and talent that is being transferred to colleges and universities, and that's if the highest scoring students on the performance scale are able to afford or are engaged to enroll in the nation's best schools for higher learning.
There have been flashes of concern in the nation's effort to speed up its technological talent pool in higher education, and community colleges may be the key to the training that workers will need to keep pace with innovation in the short term. For four-year institutions, efforts are being made to recruit more students from underrepresented groups and geographic areas of the country to create more capacity from a larger pool, but more will have to be invested in these groups to catch students up to the valuable learning and inspiration that was missed in secondary education. And with new data indicating that certain methods designed to reach diverse student pools being less effective than first imagined, the task may be growing harder as time is running out.
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