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Skills for an unpredictable future

Throughout history, the world has changed continuously, sometimes faster, sometimes slower. Today we are in the midst of deep changes and with extremely fast dynamics. Climate changes increasingly affect the environment in which we live, the ecosystems and the relationships between them. Recent crises, such as the COVID 19 pandemic, the energy crisis, the war in Ukraine, migration introduce great uncertainties into the near future. On the other hand, the development of disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence, biotechnologies, additive manufacturing, big data, IoT, robotics, energy storage have a high potential to produce rapid changes in terms of future occupations and lifestyle.

In this context, the fundamental question of education is what kind of skills are needed to prepare the current generations of students? What must the school offer today in order to prepare them for the society of the future?

The answers are difficult, but some may be sketched. Today we live in an information society, continuously flooded with information through effective means such as the Internet. Quality information and that with low utility or fake news coexist. The individual has never been subjected to a greater informational impact. The school needs a robust move from the area of providing information that students should memorize to an area that discusses, questions, relationships between different elements, the approach to complexity should be at the forefront.

The students should learn how to distinguish useful information from worthless information, how to interconnect various elements so that he can understand reality in a correct way.

Predicting the exact skills that will be most important over the next 20 years is challenging due to the rapid pace of technological and societal changes. It is increasingly likely that it will be necessary to change your job regularly after 5-10 years. For this reason, adaptability and resilience may be the critical competencies of the future. Both the natural environment can produce major challenges for adaptability, as well as the social, work, cultural and relational environment. Therefore, the ability to quickly adjust to new circumstances, learn new technologies, and recover from setbacks will be crucial as the pace of change accelerates. As technology continues to advance, the digital literacy will remain a critical asset understanding and effectively using tools, platforms, and data will be essential across various fields.

The critical thinking and problem solving will help a lot to analyze complex situations, identifying root causes, and devising creative solutions—a necessity in a world facing novel challenges. The creativity and innovation will play a central role since the machines can perform routine tasks, but creativity and the ability to come up with innovative ideas remain uniquely human traits.

Beyond these the emotional intelligence expressed by skills such as empathy, communication, and collaboration will become even more important. We will have a single change to survive in a difficult environment, the large cooperation of the entire society. Addressing climate change and sustainability will require individuals who understand environmental issues and can contribute to solutions, but the extensive cooperation between individuals is the key for the valuable result of living in such challenging circumstances.

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