DAY 1. Rappler CEO Maria Ressa opens the #ThinkPH roundtable discussion. Photo by Gerard Carreon/Rappler
MANILA, Philippines – On September 4, 5, and 6, disruptors, innovators, and thought leaders gathered to find answers to this hard question: are the skills students learning today fit for the jobs of the future?
Now on its fifth year, #ThinkPH, Rappler’s annual tech summit, chose to shake things up by taking a different approach in discussing the world’s advancing technologies. With the theme “Dear Future Self,” #ThinkPH looked at technology through the eyes of students. What should they do to stay relevant? To thrive and help build tomorrow?
Hosted by Marguerite de Leon, each roundtable discussion explored different topics on how to “future-proof” students: realizing the value of staying human amidst rapid innovation, harnessing creativity for the world’s new economy, and revisiting our education system.
If you missed the discussions, you could catch them here:
Roundtable 1: Who are you in the time of creative destruction?
Roundtable 2: Unlocking the creative potential in young Filipinos
Roundtable 3: Does PH education need rebooting?
Humanity and creative destruction
Delving into the question: who are you in the time of creative destruction? #ThinkPH’s first roundtable discussion brought in thought leaders: Rappler’s CEO & Executive Editor Maria Ressa, Inventor Angelo Casimiro, De la Salle College of Saint Benilde - Hub for Innovation and Inclusion (HiFi) Executive Director Abi Mapua-Cabanilla, and Accenture’s Digital Lead and Managing Director JP Palpallatoc.
“Creative destruction is your destroying the now, but creating the present and the future,” said Ressa.
And in the center of it all are the people. The challenge for them now, however, is how to stay human in the age of technology.
This includes learning how to shift the environment so that collaboration between tech and humans happens organically or as Palpallatoc put it, “WeQ,” more than IQ and EQ.
“When we talk about AI there are new roles and jobs. We have trainers, the people who actually train AI. We have explainers, those who know why AI makes those decisions. And there are sustainers, those who keep AI responsible and ethical… we need to have a focused effort on re-skilling people for this,” said Palpallatoc.
Potential in the creative economy
The second roundtable discussion was about unlocking students’ potential to thrive in the shifting industries of tomorrow.
Author and professor John Howkins, who coined “creative economy”, joined the discussion along with Creative Economy Council of the Philippines President and Founder Paolo Mercado, SoFA Design Institute’s Executive Director Amina Aranaz-Alunan, and Filmmaker and Head of Globe Studios’ Quark Henares.
For them, part of what the youth should learn today is that to be creative is not just about technical skills and the arts. It’s about imagination, reinvention, thinking outside of the box.
The innately human skills that students must learn to harness are the ones that machines have yet to replicate: are our abilities to be creative and to think critically.
It is by applying these skills to industries like tech and sciences that we build a new creative economy.
Time for a reboot?
The question now is, are our students being trained in the current education system to be adept in a continually evolving world?
According to the Institute for the Future (IFTF), 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet. Just like how positions like social media producers today didn’t exist 10 years ago.
So, to cap off the whole #ThinkPH, experts took on the big question boggling many parents’ minds: does PH education need rebooting?
Leading the conversation were: Peachy Pacquing, Chief Connector and Mission Controller at The Just League; Yael Buencamino, Executive Director at Ateneo De Manila’s Arete; Michelle Aventajado, Country Director at Best Buddies Philippines, Arvin Yason, Managing Director at Accenture Advanced Technology Centers in the Philippines; and Fritz Hoyle, the leader of Team Coop, Program the Future 2018’s Grand Champion.
“In an era where job offers don’t knock on your door, you have to work for it,” says Hoyle, a graduating Computer Science student at Cebu Institute of Technology - University. Her team developed a reading and speech app for children with cleft palate which won the top award at Accenture’s Program the Future 2018.
This is why beyond education, letting students go out to discover what they are or will be passionate about is important.
For Yason, education is not just about the hard skills learned in school. He recalled studying a type of technology when he was in the university that is no longer up-to-date now. But his passion for learning and discovering new things is timeless.
“Learning has to evolve. Using traditional methods is not enough anymore,” said Yason. “Go out there and know what you're passionate about.”
Notes for your future self
Even with the diverse background of thought leaders, there are common themes all can agree on.
Everyone acknowledges that our world is a constantly evolving world. That’s why it’s crucial for our students to adapt and to get out of their comfort zones.
Students must always reinvent themselves, enrich their soft skills and innate abilities like creativity and critical thinking. But they must be able to synergize it with whatever hard training they learn.
Lastly, all these should not exist in a vacuum. Instead be part of something larger: help solve problems, build communities.
Students all must remember these because the world will move on, with or without them. - Rappler.com