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Education and

Innovation and Job Creation

Key message

Every economy depends on the education system to generate the human capital needed for sustainable growth.


A well-educated workforce is critical to adopt new technologies and innovations, encourage entrepreneurship, and spur growth in new innovation-intensive sectors that are most likely to create decent work opportunities. As the global economy continues to undergo rapid and unpredictable transformation, especially with the incoming Fourth Industrial Revolution, schools need to adapt fast to the changing future of work.
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Key challenges
  • About 40% of employers worldwide are already having difficulties in recruiting people with the skills they need 
    (International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity, 2016).
  • The world urgently needs more educated workers It is estimated that, by 2020, the global economy will have a shortage of 40 million workers with a tertiary education and 45 million workers with a secondary education, while there would be a surplus of 95 million low-skilled workers
    (Deloitte & GBCE, 2018).  EAC/UNESCO, 2013
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Make the case
  • Urgent investment into education and training is needed to meet the needs of the future - to resolve the risk that 50% of tomorrow’s human capital will be unprepared for the workforce in 2030
    (Deloitte & GBCE, 2018).
  • An educated and skilled workforce is key to growth and technological progress. Data from 19 OECD countries between 1960 and 2000 show that their growth was more driven by skilled human capital rather than the total human capital of the workforce
    (Vandenbussche et al., 2004).
  • Job growth is likely to be concentrated in high-skills sectors. It is estimated that, by 2020, more than 80% of jobs will require medium to high skills levels, while low-skills jobs will continue to decline
    (GEM, 2016).
  • Investment in higher education is essential for research and development, and technological advances. Only 7% of young people in the least developed countries are currently enrolled in college, nine times less than the rate in developed countries
    (Deloitte & GBCE, 2018).
  • Education is essential for the transition towards green growth to address pressing environmental challenges. Green industries are growing faster than the global economy average, with a job creation potential of 15-60 million additional jobs, yet the green skills gap is already creating bottlenecks in some countries
    IRENA, 2014  GEM, 2016
  • To meet the demands of the future, schools will need to switch to innovative pedagogies that are playful, experiential, computational, embodied, and embrace multiliteracies.
    World Economic Forum, 2020  Zosh et al., 2017  Brookings, 2019
  • When schools explicitly foster students to hone their critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and entrepreneurship, student-led innovation will benefit their entire communities. At the Green School in Bali, Indonesia, where the curriculum emphasises real-world problem-solving, students show greater resilience, motivation, and social entrepreneurship. In one year, student-led energy projects led to seven new renewable energy systems at the school, reducing their environmental footprint by 40%
    (World Economic Forum, 2020).
  • There are many successful pedagogies and methods for schools to help children and youth better appreciate diversity; this appreciation can translate into boosting innovation and performance in the workplace. A study of 1,700 companies in eight countries found that when leadership teams are diverse, their companies report a 19% increase in innovation revenue compared with companies with below-average diversity scores
    Johnson, 2010  Titus, 1998;  Boutte, 2010
  • Given that work skills can now become obsolete in just two to five years, lifelong learning is more important than ever. It has been estimated that, by 2022 alone, everyone will need an extra 101 days of learning to keep pace with the changing world of work
    Boston Consulting Group, 2020  World Economic Forum, 2020
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Key opinion
Emanuel Boo Milton Photo Credit Thearthype
Emanuel “Boo” Milton
Activists
I believe education unlocks the opportunity to better articulate the greatness within us. We all have a light of greatness and revolutionary ideas within us. When this energy is matched with the knowledge of how to better express ourselves and challenge our current ways of thinking, it introduces new growth and opportunity to be a greater asset to ourselves and the world we are a part of.
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Key talking points
  • Quality education underpins innovation, job creation and entrepreneurship.
  • Employers are increasingly finding it difficult to find workers with the flexible and adaptable skills needed for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
  • Access to relevant education focused on skills for the future of work and life can have a tremendous impact on providing a pathway to employment opportunities for young people.
  • The skills needed for work are constantly evolving which means that life-long learning is more important than ever.
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