Most occupations and jobs that exist today will still be around in the future, but in a "refashioned" form, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung told The Straits Times.
The Minister said, “You will need to learn new tools, you may need to apply your skills slightly differently. You must be technologically savvy and open-minded. But the fundamental skill stays.”
For instance, the skills needed by a customer chatbot trainer, which is a relatively new role, are probably similar to those of a customer service officer trainer. But an employee will also have to know how to operate the machine and the software.
So while the importance of fundamental skills and the many things being done in the education system and training actually are relevant in preparing the young and old for the future, however, we need to be adaptable and open to the different ways that the work is being done, added Mr. Ong.
The higher education landscape should evolve to keep pace with the changing job landscape and he touched upon four trends taking place in various universities. The first is the blurring of lines between industry training - which is apprenticeship-based - and university training, which involves intellectual inquiry. The second theme is that education and learning in general, including for graduates, will have to be lifelong. These two dovetails into the third theme which is that regardless of which route one starts out on - vocational or academic - learning will progressively have to be skills-based in nature. The last theme he touched upon was that education will become more interdisciplinary.
As Singapore grapples with the twin challenges of an aging population and job displacements due to technology, Minister Ong has rightly highlighted the importance of lifelong learning and how important it is for the people to upskill and learn continuously. While the government is doing all it can to prepare its citizens for the impending future, it will be interesting to see how do these changes play out in times to come.