Fourth industrial revolution and the risk of planned obsolescence in education

Gabriela Sirkis, Patricia Caratozzolo, Clara Piloto
Publicado en
International Association for Continuing Engineering Education
ISBN: 978-1-7327114-1-9

The thrust of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the pressure of stakeholders in the industry make employers require new workforce strategies. Both the OECD and the WEF, in their 2018 reports, have presented the situation as a global challenge: meeting the new demands requires heavily focus on the nature of future jobs and on the skills required from workers to secure those jobs. In the field of engineering, these requirements must also deal with an additional difficult situation; planned obsolescence in technology represents a triggering risk of other obsolescence of labour: market frictions, vertical and horizontal mismatch, skill gaps and shortages and skill obsolescence. To overcome the problems related to the skill-biased technological change, several initiatives have been addressed: (i) from an economic point of view, companies make decisions considering the costs to choose between reskilling or upskilling; (ii) in the educational market, attempts are made to alleviate the problem with an excessive number of degrees and programs; finally, (iii) in the field of Continuing Engineering Education, most institutions offer all kinds of trainings: MOOCs, webinars, micro-credentials courses and workshops. The current landscape is frantic and especially harmful to universities in developing countries, as in Latin America, to such an extent that the maelstrom of the worst facet of planned obsolescence –the systematic- causes a kind of planned “mirror” obsolescence in higher education institutions in engineering, which are not flexible enough to respond quickly in the preparation of their syllabus and programs. Our work in progress study will take advantage of the extensive literature related to planned obsolescence in the technological field, to analyze the panorama of education in developing countries and propose possible dynamic models of how technological chang

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