“The times they are a-changin'”.

Despite my solid educational background, I am convinced that the education for my son should be different than my own. But incremental developments will not suffice; instead, a systemic change will be necessary. With the ongoing digital transformation and its implications on society and jobs, we need to rethink education. We need to bring our education up to speed with technological progress. The focus should be on equipping our children with the skills necessary for the next 10, 20, or 50 years.

Switzerland is well prepared, but needs to follow through

In Switzerland, we have always been able to adapt to change fast. This is largely due to our dual education system, which we pride ourselves to be the best in the world. Even so, our society has shown to have reservations and anxieties regarding the future of work. Many feel that the fast technological progress is outpacing them and making them superfluous. The many news articles on artificial intelligence (AI) and automation are leaving a mark on people.

However, I strongly disagree with the claim that no jobs will be left after the robots take over. This fear has been around for a long time. Every decade or so, the question about what people will do when the machines start doing their job has been the cause for anxieties, dating all the way back to the weavers and probably even further. This quote from Chris Dixon sums up these fears and puts them into perspective:

“It is much easier to imagine jobs that will go away than new jobs that will be created.”

Nevertheless, the rate at which many of the current job profiles are changing has increased rapidly over the years. So while the weavers faced a much slower, more  prolonged transformation phase, today’s digital transformation is taking place at a much higher pace.

“Digital Education” needs to be the buzzword

What does this mean for Switzerland? First and foremost, our schools need to adapt to this new future. With the “Lehrplan 21”, we laid the corner stone strengthening the subject “Nature and Technology” in secondary school. From now on, “Media and Informatics” is part of the “Lehrplan 21”.

But it doesn’t stop at elementary or secondary school. Those already in the workforce need to educate themselves further. We need to stay on our toes and keep being flexible.

digitalswitzerland recognized the need for support in this area: in September 2016, we launched the web platform educationdigital. We created a non-commercial web platform that provides a comprehensive, transparent overview of the education offerings in the digital sector in Switzerland. Check out the platform educationdigital.ch and find courses to enhance your skillset for the future. We also produced a short video, see below.

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Author Daniel Scherrer

Head of Communications & Public Affairs @digitalswitzerland

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