In light of business I thought i would post some comments i wrote in my ezine some 13 years ago.
The knowledge society
The knowledge society has arrived and few societies are prepared for it. The last great transition was when the cottage industries and crafts that supplied the humble wants of the rural based population were thrown into the cataclysm of the Industrial Revolution.
In that era if you had two arms could stand upright and had a modest grasp of numeracy and literacy you could get a job, raise a family and pay a mortgage. So numerous were such people that Karl Marx forecast they would rule the world!
We now move into a world where knowledge is currency Agriculture occupies under 5% of the population and manufacturing is falling below 30%. The Internet is a harbinger to the on line revolution and an indication that the transition has begun in earnest. To some the cottage lamps are beckoning again.
But three groups suffer.
Group 1: The ignorant and illiterate school leavers Victims of the sad cult of whole context learning and self construction literacy training. This lunacy has harmed the median learners, not bothered the brightest but left those whose houses are not interested in books with less literacy than their grandparents
Group 2: A large number of young people are well educated but unskilled.. In a knowledge society the most precious commodity is knowledge of the job. Previous experience.
Group Three: the older worker whose knowledge has been superseded and is redundant or who were the easiest to get rid of since they had more resources.
The focus in gaining full employment has been to get these groups onto the bottom rung of the ladder All the schemes which might have worked in the depression of the 1930's have been tried repeatedly and failed.
Why try and cram more unlearned or pseudo skilled entrants onto a crowded bottom rung. of the ladder
Better to move those on the next rungs one step up. Make junior book keepers into accountants, ticket writers into graphic artists. The emphasis should be on giving those in the lower middle ranks a more skilled repertoire.
The unemployable can then train for the first steps on the ladder knowing that there is a place there. While the first steps might be Mc Donald's or data input but the second and third are open for progress.
There are opportunities for a number of players
instead of sitting in beleaguered backwaters of education bleating about lowered income or touring the foreign student pools could to go to local enterprises and contract for online training in areas in real demand.
Private training consultants instead of offering short term courses could provide substantial qualifications online
Prospective students could judiciously mix both options. . Education Al la carte. A skilled worker is both a capital asset and a public benefit.
Enterprises could offer real educational and qualification packages as part of their enticement package to the advancing cohorts of the future skilled.
The State would invest in upskilling the currently skilled to make room for those unskilled to begin the process. A far better investment than the training of a personal social worker for every unemployed and lifetime dole and social security payments..
Real Philanthropists could endow Internet establishments offering such options as a tangible public benefit.
The option is not only to design online MBA courses for the upper ranks but management courses for receptionists and stock broking for pay clerks.
If the receptionist leaves the chair 3pm to online in a conference room would it break the bank to have a part time trainee from Group 2. For the day that she is a real earner.
Group three have opportunities in the training and organisation of such systems, going on line themselves to become contract educators.
Group 1, well its back to square one to achieve what was done in tin shed in small schools houses in the thirties. By rote learning through the screens teach them to read and write
The wider challenge is to remove the notion that education is an activity conducted at specific geographical location to a specific age group at a specific time.