Learning for 2020

My journey to understand what life will be in year 2020 and how we should prepare our next generation to cope with life at 2020.

Location: Melbourne, Australia

Monday, February 07, 2005


In my other blog Random Walk in E-Learning, I found myself asking the question What will her future be? a couple of times.

The main tenet of this blog is driven by several observations started in that series of posts.

  • We are now in a rapid changing world. Information and communication technology has fundamentally changed the way we work, communicate, collaborate and entertain ourselves. This fundamental change will influence every aspect of our lives in the developed countries - may be to a lesser effect to the under-developed and developing countries until they catch up.

  • The global economy is no longer driven by nation-based enterprises. The new multi-national enterprises are not interested in the national economy of the countries where they spawned. In order to reduce cost, the operation and production will be shifting to countries of lower living standards - spell lower wages. While creating job opportunities in these under-developed or developing countries, the developed countries will continue to see low level jobs continuing to disappear. My question is how can these developed countries continue to create wealth to sustain the living standards of its citizens.

  • The cost of moving between places has decreased dramatically. I believe people with talent and skills will be able to select their preferred countries to live. It is likely that some cities (or countries) will continue to attract people with high talent and skill. These people (whether are there for as a traveller on their way to other more attractive places or decided to settle) will take up the high value jobs leaving the lower value jobs to the those who cannot move or the locals. The less attractive places will remain "brain-dead" causing an increasing gap (or divide) between the wealthy and the poor - at least for the working class. It will be even more obvious for those whose main income is generated from their accumulated asset. They obviously will like to stay in places most attractive to them.

  • Although I am Chinese by blood, I now call Australia home. I am not particularly interested in whether it will be "the American (or Australian) Century" or "the Chinese Century". My focus is more on the divide of "developed countries" and "un-developed countries". Good luck to China if she can join the rank of developed countries within the next 20 years - and I surely hope and believe so.

  • Teaching and learning is the area I am passionate about. I have spent my life in this area - teaching immediately after I graduated from Hong Kong University and am still working on the e-learning industry.

  • Life expectancy of human is getting longer and longer. Our next generation gets the huge burden to create income to support their old, non-working parents for a long time. Hence if they want to maintain their current level of living standard, they need high value jobs - jobs that produce income to support more than three dependent people (parents and child). Or in anther words, the world will need manufacturing and food producing processes which can feed four people by the labour of one.

As part of the long Chinese culture, I strongly believe education is the only way to escape poverty. My life started shortly after the second world war. At that time, my father had nothing, except the clothes he was wearing, a tooth brush and a cup. Later he asked my mother to join him and here I came. I am very proud of my father who brought us up and given us a good education. Now, it is my turn. I want to look at what kind of education can give my daughter the best opportunity to cope with the life in 2020 and support her then aging parents.

I don't propose that I have a solution to offer here. Learning for 2020 is my journey of exploration on these issues.


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