Waraku Education

Ideas, experiments and observations as they occur [and I have time] relating to teaching and learning in a secondary school - special focus on ICT.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Forecasting productivity growth 2004-2024

Education is central to these predicted opportunities.

Government sectors need to invest in open source solutions. The cost is being invested in Australian people

This report was apparantly let loose on the Autralian public on March 22, 2006 at 2:27 a.m.
It was produced by the "Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts". I'm so pleased that the Arts were involved - the fact that the report said quite a bit about ICT having a significant influence over productivity in the future can be balanced by the notion that of the broader nature of the portfolio. ie. they can't be biased can they?

The report suggests that the main sources of productivity growth will be capital deepening (that is, more capital per worker) combined with technological progress in ICT and to a lesser extent biotechnology and nanotechnology.

How about the following quote - what a surprise - there is a skills deficit. I would also like to see our citizens take some responsibility for their development. No meantion of that. Let's face it - they skills themselves so that they are more competitive and productive. The writing has been on the wall for the last 30 years.

While policy issues are outside the scope of this report, it should be noted that in order to realise the predicted productivity benefits it will be necessary to support an appropriate level of investment in skill formation and in ICT related R&D.

A news item released by the ACS Foundation (Australian Computer Society) relating to this report did not make mention of the skills issue at all - I think they missed the essence with their news. The fact is that education is very central to these predicted opportunities. I think that the report failed in stating where these 'skills' need to be formed. The implication in the report is that these skills need to be in ICT. Yes this is true but the ICT skills required in the future are unknown. How will people interact with these machines? It is the higher order thinking skills, strong collaboration skills and the skills involved in learning new skills that are really important here.

It is not how to use Microsoft this and that or Adobe this and that. eg. If you are teaching Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop you are missing the point.

Also look at section 5.2 - "Possible improvements in education"

As with any autodidactic approach, computers are not suitable for the
socialisation of students. Yet, developing the social skills of children through interactions with peers and teachers is often a more important objective of education than the provision of general knowledge and skills.

So true, so true BUT often used by the ludite as their excuse for resisting the onslaught of the digital 'something'. Still, the teachers have a secure future.

This skills development point has another interesting aspect. I noted in a previous post in October of 2005

massive IT balance of trade deficit" - Does our educational use of propriety
products help or hinder?

This post was made in response to an article in The Age "Scruffy geeks on the outer"

I think that our government bodies must promote the open source stuff. Government bodies are settling for prepackaged, expensive solutions where the money is pouring out of the country. The skill set for implementing these solutions is relatively low. If they choose an Open Source solution they need advanced skills to adapt it and to make it work. These skills are not in abundance and cost. At least the cost is being invested in Australian people in this Open Source option. These much needed skills (as the report indicates) will continue to be in shortage while government bodies continue to make such short sighted decisions. They must invest in skills development and providing the place for these skills to be used. We need government to take some leadership here and now and look a bit further a head.


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