Vietnamese youth most committed to lifelong learning in SE Asia: WEF

By Phan Anh   August 16, 2019 | 09:00 pm PT
Young Vietnamese show stronger commitment to lifelong learning than their regional peers, an essential factor for future success, the WEF says.
A student studies for her high school entrance exam in HCMC, June 2, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen.

A student studies for her high school entrance exam in HCMC, June 2, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen.

The World Economic Forum report titled "ASEAN Youth: Technology, skills and the future of work," released in Hanoi on Friday, surveyed 56,000 people aged 15-35 in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam last month to understand their views, priorities and concerns regarding jobs, skills and the future of work amid the fourth industrial revolution.

Vietnamese youth were well ahead of the others with 63.6 percent believing their current education and skills need to be constantly updated, followed by Malaysians (52.6 percent) and Singaporeans (51.9 percent). The average for Southeast Asia was 52.4 percent.

Vietnamese youth were also least likely to believe their education and skills would last another five and 10 years before they need retraining or for most of their life.

This belief in the need to upgrade skills constantly can be thought of as having a "growth mindset," said Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University in the U.S.

The report said in the era of the fourth industrial revolution, with the pace of change in the job market accelerating and the durability of many skills reducing, having a growth mindset and a commitment to lifelong learning would be an essential factor for success in future.

Justin Wood, head of Asia Pacific and a member of the executive committee of the World Economic Forum, said at a conference in Hanoi on Friday: "It is impossible to predict how technology will change the future of work.

"The only certainty is that job markets face accelerating disruption, where the lifespan of many skills is shortening.

"It is encouraging that ASEAN youths are aware of these challenges and show a deep commitment to lifelong, ongoing learning."

Vietnam's Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung said technologies change fast but governments do not, which is the "biggest challenge."

So people need to be trained to adapt to changes, by not just learning about technical skills but soft skills as well, he added.

Educators need to shift their approach from providing education primarily at the start of a person’s life to one that is based on lifelong learning all the way through adulthood, the report said.

Vietnam is among the countries least prepared for the fourth industrial revolution, according to another WEF report released last year.

It ranks low in terms of education, human resources, innovation, and technology, all crucial factors in the revolution, it had said.

Vietnam is also among the top three ASEAN countries in terms of employment problems related to artificial intelligence, according to a study last year by multinational tech firm Cisco.

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