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By Karen Abrams, MBA
Ed.D Curriculum Development – Education Technology ‘25
“A job for life is now a thing of the past. The World Bank estimates that 4 out of 5 children entering primary school today will eventually hold jobs that do not currently exist. These fast-changing realities leave ripple effects on communities worldwide, but the world’s poorest are likely to be the most adversely affected by these market shifts.” — MIT.edu
If government and private sector players in developing countries really internalized the world bank’s predictions about jobs of the future, national leaders would begin an unprecedented flurry of activity around preparing the next generation of citizens for a future which will be vastly different from that which so many of us live today or are able to even conceive.
Being adaptable enough to acquire new skills throughout life, and to work flexibly will be particularly important for the next generation of young people we prepare. For countries to remain competitive, their workforce will have to be able to absorb and possess technical, social, and critical thinking skills. Their citizens will have to be empowered problem solvers, curious, innovative, creative and able to work on teams both small and large, both local and global, to gather resources necessary to accomplish huge goals.
As Guyana continues to rapidly develop all of its fledgling industries, her tiny population and suspicions of potential new residents acquired through mass migration or returning citizens from the diaspora, will continue to present a problem from two major perspectives–filling the thousands of jobs in every industry that will be created out of the accelerated pace of development, and as a source for economic expansion from increased consumer spending.
Guyana’s small population could also stifle development if key gatekeepers frustrate and undermine those who bring innovation and opportunity. There are just not enough Guyanese citizens for ‘picking and choosing’ to be a sustainable approach to opportunity access in the future–a lack of talent will significantly stifle development. Guyana must change because the rest of the world is changing. In Guyana, we need talent in every corner of the land to be able to flourish. Every willing and able Guyanese citizen must be allowed to have an equal opportunity to pursue their dreams and ambitions–innovators have the vision, energy, talent and commitment required to successfully execute complicated projects–they must be allowed, even supported and encouraged to achieve their goals. This must happen regardless of political party, social class, gender, sexual orientation, religion or whether local or diaspora.
As you read this, one hundred and eighty countries in the world are preparing to send a group of their young people to a world robotics competition in Geneva, Switzerland in October 2022. Many of the countries represented are developing, under-resourced and dealing with serious structural economic issues but yet their leaders see fit to prepare and fund these young people, hoping to inspire them to help prepare their respective nations for a new tomorrow. The First Global organization provides opportunities for developing nations to participate in the new economy by preparing their young people with access to tools of advanced technology. Those who invest today will win tomorrow. For the first time in history, the ability to read, communicate, think critically and access technology, all of which are relatively inexpensive, are some of the raw materials needed for potentially growing a developing country’s economy.
The next generation of Guyanese will have to be citizens of the world, who embrace change and new cultures, who study the world and understand technical market needs of consumers everywhere. They’ll have to build personal and business global networks, once nearly impossible without wealth, now as simple as online advertising or participating in social media business groups. Oil aside, Guyana’s youth offer tremendous promise for helping to rapidly advance her development through massive growth in the technology sector but investments must be made today.
The leaders of tomorrow will have to be raised to be disciplined, empowered and intellectually curious. Children today will have to be engaged with new and interesting approaches to learning. Many nations are actively engaged in this pursuit and Guyana should be too. There is no reason for Guyana to be disadvantaged in this new 21st economy, already the building blocks for success are in place. Let us begin the process of building.