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Assoc. Prof. Nerijus Pačėsa: we must decide who we are going to educate – decision-makers or decision executors

A clear economic pattern has been balancing our lives for a long time now – a small part of society creates their skills and labour force and the major part of it sells them. This model will change soon when artificial intelligence and robotisation will take over part of our jobs. To make this change less painful to us, as society and individuals, we need to focus on the promotion of competences which allow us to realise our human potential in a meaningful way and successfully adapt to new conditions. We need to start doing this now.

Looking ahead

The trends predominant in global economies enable us to have quite a clear picture of the future that awaits. We have already come to terms with an idea that penetration of artificial intelligence will be huge, it will involve all sectors and radically change a human role, especially in the fields which apply repetitive solutions and use large volumes of information. Let us say that artificial intelligence will write this article much better in the future. It will simply take a properly designed task and AI ‘writer’ will process massive quantities of information on this topic, will draw conclusions based on multiple studies, research, scenarios, and will crystallize the most significant needs of society and business.

A shift towards robotization, autonomous devices and automation of processes is already taking place in manufacturing and our households. Complementing robots with artificial intelligence will provide a new impetus, when robots can operate autonomously and ‘improve’ the quality of performance.

People will ‘improve’ as well – we will live longer and longer when we employ genetic engineering. An increasing part of elderly people in our society will generate new social challenges and will make space for multiple new fields of activities. Growing awareness will promote the sectors which will tackle the challenges related to healthy lifestyle, ecology and sustainable development.

Human dilemma: how to adjust

Human history shows that all societal changes are initiated and implemented by a considerably small part of its smartest representatives. The rest takes part by carrying out the functions necessary to implement the solutions created by others and they make use of the results of the progress created.

In the future, the gap between ‘creators’ and ‘executors’ will become more and more prominent as the role of the latter will be successfully taken over by artificial intelligence. There will surely be new fields enabling people to realize their potential; it is obvious, however, that such new activities will require creative, teamwork-like and non-standard thinking and action as well as diverse and constructive communication skills.

School which educates creators – what is it?

Part of society that cannot compete against artificial intelligence and robotization solutions will become a burden to the State. Educators and businesses unanimously agree that we must start fostering such competences at schools which will enable people to successfully adjust to changing environments and become an active and creative part of society. These competences are also known as 4Cs:

  • Critical thinking;
  • Creativity;
  • Collaboration;
  • Communication.

Education programmes discuss the need to develop such competences but they generally fail to specify how to foster, recognise and, especially, assess them. Therefore, fostering is left to the discretion of the teacher’s personal initiative. Successful education systems and schools have made such competences their priority goals. They have been established in the programme, methodological solutions have been generated, their success is integrated in the assessment and feedback schemes.

Advanced programme is not enough – we need advanced educational culture as well

One of such programmes is the International Baccalaureate programme. Its philosophy is based on developing learners’ abilities, known as Learner’s profile, which are identified as: Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-minded, Caring, Risk-takers, Balanced, Reflective. Education and educational activities are based on those ten abilities.

The content of the International Baccalaureate programme incorporates these principles but the programme alone is not enough. Every school must develop a respective environment to apply these principles in the educational process. If they are applied in a traditional way, this will be the same as having a smart watch and using it to watch time only.

The greatest challenge for schools is how to change culture and methods to transmit the learning content. Schools like ‘Erudito licėjus’ have been established on the basis of a new culture and they mainly focus on fostering competences in order to teach how to apply knowledge, generate new solutions and continue autonomous learning in a rapidly changing environment.