“Underemployed graduates can master more skills, update their knowledge and improve their chances of getting a better job”
By 2030, the number of young people in the African labour force will increase to 375 million. According to the International Monetary Fund, population growth on the continent means that by 2035, there will be more young Africans entering the workforce each year than in the rest of the world combined.
Yet the African Development Bank has observed that only 3 million of the 12 million graduates produced by African universities find employment each year.
In Nigeria, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, unemployment has increased to 33.3% in the 4th quarter 0f 2020. Despite producing huge number of graduates, African universities are churning out too many graduates who possess little or no mastery of skills necessary for today’s job market. Oladapo Soetan, founder of Ajuwaya Learn, explains how edtech could offer a solution.
“Successful online programs will be the ones that allow students to take charge of their own learning”
Just over a year on from the first UK lockdown, we have collectively learned quite a lot about the resilience of our education system. Like many industries, higher education faced a unique set of challenges throughout the pandemic, particularly as institutions navigated new methods of learning and assessment.
This accelerated digital transformation initiatives across our universities, with lecturers embracing online learning to ensure educational continuity for students. Stewart Watts, vice president EMEA at D2L, explains.
“Workplaces are changing, and the classroom is starting to catch up.”
Whisper it quietly, “there might be an end in sight”.
Increasingly, as I walk along the streets of London, I can see a sense of relief, even happiness, on the faces of those I encounter. It might be that the UK vaccination campaign, that was as ambitious as it has been impressive, is finally bringing the Covid pandemic towards its conclusion. In the summer months Boris Johnson has indicated that we might be able to return to pubs, clubs and hairdressers.
But if Zoom socials are on the way out, what does that mean for online education? Libra Education CEO Oscar Hardy explains.
“They understand the need for a practical and marketable skill set”
Gen Z was born between 1997 and the early 2010s and are now in high school, university, or looking for their first job. They grew up during the 2008 recession. Their older friends entered the workforce juggling a few part time roles serving the needs of the on-demand economy.
The last year has seen Gen Z’s time at high school, university or their first job disturbed by the global pandemic. Potentially there is also a post-pandemic recession brewing which will further affect their future career opportunities.
In order to tap into their interest in online education and cater to their needs, learning needs to meet three criteria: be affordable, mobile-first and help them future-proof their careers. Hanna Celina, director of insights at FutureLearn.com, explains.
“With eight years of data, we’ve found that, when done well, online learning can be extremely effective”
Teaching and learning online can feel daunting, especially at first. With the pandemic forcing millions of instructors and students abruptly into remote schooling, many have questioned the quality of online learning and its effectiveness.
With eight years of data, at Coursera we’ve found that, when done well, online learning can be extremely effective at helping students acquire and master new skills — including many that are in high demand in the current job market. In fact, 73% of our online learners report a positive career outcome within six months of completing a course.
Drawing on the satisfaction, skill development, and career outcomes of over 200 million course enrolments, the Drivers of Quality in Online Learning report showcases the power of online learning and provides actionable, data-driven insights for how instructors and learners can optimise their digital learning experience.
Here are four of the most effective ways we’ve found to build job-ready skills through online learning.
“Individual strengths joined together on a global level can, indeed, move mountains”
The esteemed Japanese writer Ryūnosuke Akutagawa once wrote: “Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”
As human beings, we know that we are stronger when we work together rather than when we work in isolation, says Class2Class’ Suzanne Orzech. Akutagawa’s words seem to have come to life on a global scale as we look at the plethora of global educational partnerships that have emerged recently, thanks to human ingenuity and the desire to keep moving forward despite extreme global challenges.
Class2Class is excited to provide the technology solutions to many global pioneers who have come together to develop virtually collaborative courses, projects, and internships as an affordable and inclusive model for international education with other universities, NGOs and businesses around the world during a time of limited physical mobility. What is truly inspiring to see is the evolution of collective thought.
As different and varied as all of these partnerships are, they have the same goal in mind: advance international education and make it accessible to all, despite some extremely severe obstacles.
“I can’t tell who is more frustrated, the teacher or the student”
How do you show friendliness in an online classroom? Now that we’re past the survival stage of virtual learning, we can think about what’s missing in how we teach and what we can do to achieve better quality communication.
I remember those moments, before the pandemic, when a student would walk into my classroom and I’d say, “hey, how’s it going today?” And that student could feel the impact of personal attention, that a teacher is actually “seeing” them. Those kinds of socially intuitive interactions are lost in the online teaching we are doing today.
What’s also missing are the little things that indicate friendliness, like someone getting closer to you when you’re saying something. In fact, students indicate that they miss the tactile aspects of face-to-face classes, like the feeling of having a physical classmate sitting close to them in class.
“There is a visible need for more relevant digital learning experiences”
The global education sector has experienced more disruption and rapid change over the course of 2020 than it has over the past few decades, writes Susannah Belcher, Chief Operations Officer at FutureLearn. As schools close, universities pivot harder to digital, and professionals need to adapt and reskill, the demand for online learning is set to pick up rather than slow down.
“There is a huge difference between traditional classroom teaching and online teaching”
Teachers need to be motivated, especially if they are working with online students, writes Cudy Technologies founder Alexander Lim. They need to have a passion for teaching, and should have a good understanding of the subject matter they are teaching.