Workers of the future: IT literate

By digitalchampion  | November 20, 2013

The quality of education is undoubtedly a major factor for the competitiveness of all economies in the long term. Since the effect of any meaningful investment in education can not show the benefits for almost a decade, but the negative is short-term, governments are not motivated to make them, with few exceptions. Now the situation in Bulgaria seems more inappropriate than ever to form any meaningful debate thorugh which to seek consensus. Our society is heavily divided, the state- without a direction and emotions – polarized. Students hate the government, the government does not understand them, and the people are divided whether the occupation of the University is a good or bad action. But if we break away from the screen for a moment and try to go down to the micro level, we can see that the situation is the same – people continue to struggle, but this nevertheless is never a barrier to separate a piece from the daily bread for the good education of their children. What is more, the creative children, regardless of the financial status of their parents, without any obstacle can have access to a good education. Do we know what is a good education, after all are well-educated Bulgarians in the 80s still well-educated Bulgarians today?

The answer is NO.

The reason for this is that today’s world is different. This is the world of Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, in one word – the world of Internet. Knowledge is no longer locked within the four walls of the classroom and the teacher is no longer the only holder of the key to knowledge. Knowing by heart Botev and solving equations can make you an excellent student, but can not get you a job at Google, nor can light the flame of your enterprising skills. Children today are born with tablets and smart phones, and blackboards will soon be much more like a more museum piece than educational tool. It is a huge mistake in the world of Mark Zukerberk Steve Jobs to continue to have the rudimental debate about the content of the textbook literature. We need completely new, updated concept of what people want to build and how this is happening in education. Europe has estimated that by 2015 there will be 700 000 vacancies in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT) and in 2020 90% of jobs will require digital skills. These are not the skills required to use Facebook and Skype, for the basic skills to be able to find solutions to problems by means of Internet through a computer. In Europe, there is a discussion, here in Bulgaria – it is missing. A month ago, the Commissioners of Education and the Digital Agenda Androulla Vassiliou and Neelie Kroes launched the initiative “Open education”. Their goal is to motivate teachers to acquire digital skills, the classroom to bedigitally equipped and the way to freedom and free online training content to be opened. Europe is lagging behind the rest of the world, but is keen to catch up. Today, 63% of 9 year olds in the EU do not have computer equipment in schools. Bulgaria here is in one of the last places. Between 50 and 80% of the students in the EU have never used a digital textbook, do not know the software exercises, simulations and educational games. Most teachers in primary and secondary education do not consider themselves to be digitally literate and 70% of them would like to have more training in ICT. In the following years all universities must adapt the traditional teaching methods, must combine attendance and online classes, must establish a direct relation with the business, if they want to be competitive.

If we do not start looking for consensus on all these issues today, our children and their children will 100% be a lost generation.

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