Tuesday 6 December 2016

Reverse engineering for the future workforce


President Obama is speaking at the press conference after the APEC Economic Leaders` Summit in Peru (11/20/16)

"The 21 Asia-Pacific countries here represent 3 billion people and six of America`s top ten trading partners - more than half of the global economy and the world`s fastest growing region.  In other words these 21 countries represent tremendous opportunity for the United States to sell our goods and support your jobs."

The Phillipines is one of the 21 members in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), but there is another APEC on the ground there too. This APEC (Affordable Private Education Centres) is a "for-profit chain of low-fee private schools established through a joint venture between two major multinational corporations, Pearson Plc and The Ayala Group."

The interesting thing about the private school chain is what it can tell us about the kind of education system that the big global corporations are designing for their future workforce.

They utilise a process called reverse engineering, that is, they decide the qualities they want to see in their workers; something like successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors; that kind of thing. They track back and then work out the curriculum they must put in place to push children in the direction they want them to go.
"APEC has a curriculum made up of three parts: knowledge, skills and values. Arguably values are most important and then skills are next and then knowledge for employers. Because you could have the most skilled person who is really knowledgeable but if they give up every time they encounter failure then you don’t want them working for you. If they are really pessimistic then you don’t want them working for you. If they have a bad personality then you don’t want them working for you. So values are really important to employers and so that’s what we are working on..."
"This industry-driven educational vision involves producing flexible and cheap labour that can be utilised by (multinational) companies in positions that require minimal area specific knowledge. In turn, the knowledge that is sold by APEC is commodified and altered to align with the social relations of production that can sustain corporate capital growth..."
"APEC advertises its low-cost, for-profit education services as an investment that significantly enhances students’ employment potential and readiness for competing in the global employment market by equipping students with real-world skills through programs designed in close partnership with prospective employers"

 APEC is investing in `human capital` in order to develop the interests of corporations. An importat feature is how companies collaborate with each other to plan their development in the longterm. Children today will be the workers of tomorrow. Governments, heavily in debt, are drawn into public/private partnerships, intensifying the stranglehold of the corporations. The same kind of thing is happening all over Africa.

I think there are indications that similar trends are beginning to appear in Western countries too: public/private partnerships, competency based eduation, workforce development, 21st century learning - on and on it goes - because those are just some of the indicators from Curriculum for Excellence.


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