Education and skills for the digital age

12 Mar 2019 10:00h - 11:00h

Event report

[Read more session reports and live updates from the OECD Going Digital Summit]

The session was moderated by Mr Andreas Schleicher (Director for Education and Skills, OECD) and focused on how to improve education and foster skills for the digital age. Schleicher started by discussing how learning is becoming part of work, which is why it is important to create jobs that people can do better than computers.

Mr Enrique Medina Malo (Chief Policy Officer, Telefonica) started by presenting his company and how the telecommunications sector is being affected by the digital economy. Malo believes that lifelong learning is important and that it is necessary to reshape all institutions to play a role in the education system because universities and schools cannot do it alone. According to him, one current challenge is the adaptation of the education market to meet labour demands. At the end of his speech, he talked about the importance of new technologies to promote the universalisation of Internet access in order to further education in rural communities.

In his speech, Mr Zee Kin Yeong (Assistant Chief Executive – Data Innovation and Protection, Info-Communications Media Development Authority, Singapore) talked about how to inspire interests in young people and to convert these into skills. There is a Singaporean initiative in which teenagers can engage in activities outside the school curriculum in artificial intelligence (AI) laboratories. In addition, it is important to offer formal education to those interested in going deeper into specific topics. He believes that it is necessary to create awareness about the importance of media literacy for all of society, not only for people working in information technology. According to him, curiosity about technologies is part of the asian culture. Finally, Yeong thinks that people need to feel in control of their paths of learning, but that it is necessary to have a roadmap to conduct them.

Mr Sebastian de Toro (State Secretary, Ministry for Energy and Digital Development, Sweden) started by saying that a lot of students are falling behind in the education system. He thinks that it is a challenge to engage people that are not curious about the topic under discussion, and he believes that teachers have the main role in awakening curiosity in students. Another big challenge is the precarisation of labour. According to him, the collaboration between governments and trade unions is essential for dealing with reskilling  for new jobs. de Toro said that one of the places to learn is at work and that is why it is necessary to have flexibility in the workplace.

Ms Ann Mettler (Head of the European Political Strategy Centre, European Commission) thinks that it is difficult to predict and anticipate the future of jobs, but it is necessary to know how to prepare people for this uncertain forthcoming. Mettler believes that learner adaptability is the response in this scenario. According to her, it is more important to focus on skills than on a formal education. On the other hand, it is essential to think about how to create accreditation for the skills learnt at work. To finish, Mettler talked about the importance of focusing on nurturing individual talent.

In his speech, Mr Geoff Mulgan (Chief Executive, National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts, United Kingdom) talked about some job trends in the digital economy. He believes that nowadays, there is more space for interdisciplinary jobs that combine different areas, like science and economy, etc. Mulgan said that it is necessary to shift the education system and to integrate learning outside of schools, based on experience. According to him, it is essential to develop the habit of lifelong education. Finally, he thinks that a combination between collective intelligence and AI can bring useful data and applications to the citizens.


By Nathalia Sautchuk Patricio