Anticipating the 4IR in education

Light bulb plugging itself in

The role of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) in the world has already been introduced in some developed countries. Some schools have introduced robotics to pupils as a way to introduce the 4IR. 

The 4IR blurs the lines between biotechnology, physical and digital domains. This includes robotics, virtual reality, 3-D printing, artificial intelligence and biotechnology. 

The evolution of technology is always difficult for many to become accustomed to the change, however it is necessary. 

Many have said that the pandemic has paved the way for the 4IR. Referring to the fact that many are already hands deep in the 3IR, which ushered in the internet, electronics, solar electricity and telecommunications. With many working from home, some parents opted for homeschooling their children and opening their own eCommerce businesses.  

The future of South African education in the 4IR anticipates something along the lines of having robots as teachers. It will involve shorter years of schooling, due to biotechnology and quantum computing.

According to the World Economic Forum, 65% of children entering primary school will be working in jobs that currently do not exist. One of the first steps that South Africa has taken is to introduce coding for junior primary learners. Ultimately, the government needs to equip teachers with the right skills to introduce, nurture and, someday, self teach advanced techniques to manoeuvre through the 4IR sphere.   

South African teachers and students have to prepare for changes in the curriculum internationally. Students and higher institutions will be expected to have shorter courses that are more focused and have an integral relationship with the industry. Students need to learn to find information that they must decipher and solve. 

For citizens of SA, the 4IR will mean technological safety measures for mines and the internet. The medical sector will have efficient ways of discovering medicine that will help many. However, a whole lot of changes need to be made in order to be in the right pathway for the 4IR. Factors that could delay that progress are poverty levels, the high unemployment rate in the country and corruption.