The Davos education: innovating the present to enhance the future

DUUna2pU8AAZOBcThe World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, in the Swiss mountains, is now over. An occasion in which prominent personalities in politics, economics and sciences meet to tackle our present and future challenges.

This year’s topic was “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”. What kind of fractures are we talking about? Political fractures for sure, for winds of hatred and intolerance blow from every directions. But also social cleavages, when inequalities are more and more evident and the world seems to have lost a proper direction.

Did our society really lose direction? Probably yes, but we are not drifted away yet.

Some panelists identified education as one of the main answers to destructive tendencies.

Jack Ma, who founded Alibaba (and was refused for 10 times at Harvard) tackled the issues of innovation in an educational perspective. What do we think education should be thirty years from now?

Given that globalisation, as well as technological progress, is unstoppable, the educational challenge is getting kids ready to face the age of automation with new tools in their kit, thus enabling them to value what makes humans different: wisdom.

Educating them to be better than machines is a waste of time and resources. A computer will always be smarter than you are; they never forget, they never get angry. But computers can never be as wise a man. A blind attitude to technology exposes to the risk of educating unhappy adults reaching ephemeral successes. Furthermore, there is the concrete possibility of unbalancing technology towards social fights.

Teachers are not exempt from facing transformation actively. On the contrary, they are called to keep educating themselves, in a process of innovation and revolution of teaching methods.

Their duty is to prepare kids not to look for obsolete jobs a machine can do quicker and better, but to make the most of what makes them truly humans.

Innovative education, made of present innovations, needs a free flow of knowedge, strong enough to break cultural silos and creating a positive mesh of practice, experience, knowledge and emotion.

Ma wraps up these ideas introducing the LQ, the IQ of love. Traditional IQ measures are past. Intelligence is not determined uniquely by logical skills and maths. It is rather made of empathy and emotional intelligence.

Measuring intelligence in the transformation era means to include emotions, the capacity to have feelings. Which is exactly what machines cannot have (now and never, despite our attempts).

Technology, automation, mechanisation of the economy: this is the language spoken in the nearest future, but the clue is that progress is called to enable people, not to disable them.

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