Future education policies - New thinking for better skills

The latest report from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) shows the education system is continuing to produce high quality graduates and there is an increasing demand for those graduates at home.

However, the HEA data also reveals a worrying disparity between the pay levels of IT graduates and those in Arts and Humanities, with the latter earning considerably less.

This might seem inevitable, as computer literacy is essential to prospering in a technological age.

That may be changing, though. Influential business leaders in the US forecast that, ìn the future, the most valuable skills in demand will be those that people can do better than computers.

These include forming emotional bonds, making judgments, building relationships, brainstorming, and leading — the kind of human interaction that no amount of computing can emulate. These human skills are being lost in our constant focus on third-level education at the expense of other forms of learning such as apprenticeships.

Germany, for instance, sustains its industrial pre-eminince with a mixture of academic and hands-on learning.

Hopefully our next minister for education will keep this in mind when setting out future educations policies.

Likewise, our Leaving Cert students who would do well to consider an alternative to going to university.


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