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Home » News » Business » Educating for the 4th Industrial Revolution

Educating for the 4th Industrial Revolution

Publishing Date : 07 May, 2018

Author :

BOITSHEPO BOLELE

Although the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) was publicly announced in Davos in 2016, various elements related to what makes this new dimension has been ongoing for almost a decade. The term received wide publicity when German Chancellor Angela Merkel highlighted at the Hanover Fair in 2011, the emergence of Industry 4.0 to make German manufacturing more competitive.

Emergence of Industry Revolution 4.0

Industry 1.0: (1784) : Based on mechanical production equipment driven by water and steam power.
Industry 2.0: (1870): Based on mass production enabled by the division of labor and the use of electrical energy.
Industry 3.0 (1969): Based on the use of electronics and IT to further automate production.
Industry 4.0 (today): Based on the use of cyber-physical systems.



The reason to say that the fourth industrial revolution is in full force today is due to the fact that velocity and impact of current breakthroughs is like never before. The innovations and advances are omnipresent led by strong emergence of fields like Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Internet of Things, Autonomous Vehicles, Biotechnology, Nanotechnology, 3-D Printing, Material Science, Quantum Computing and Energy Storage. The impact of such breakthroughs is so rapid that the fourth industrial revolution is evolving at an exponential pace, and disrupting almost every industry.

Opportunities brought by Fourth Industry Revolution

Industry 4.0 can play a vital role in raising the global income levels and take our current stand of living to a next orbit. Technology has made it possible to make products and services that enable us to lead a better life. This will drive gains within the efficiency and productivity of our current lifestyle, leading to:

  • Increase in global income levels
  • Enhanced quality of life with higher order technologies
  • Reduction in transportation and communication costs
  • Creation of new products and markets
  • Safer workplace as hazardous work is taken over by robots
  • Enhanced health services leading to longevity

Challenges of Fourth Industrial Revolution

On the contrary, one of the biggest challenges is that it could lead to even higher inequality, as emerging technologies take over labour intensive jobs. But, then Technology has always been destroying jobs, and it has always been creating jobs. Apart from this, the other challenges could be:

  •  Security issues of data and maintaining privacy
  •  Risk of greater inequality in labour markets
  •  Decrease in real income of workers as machines take over
  •  Displacement of workers by machines and artificial intelligence
  •  Creation of higher order human jobs is always a concern when automated technologies takeover day to day jobs


The Six Drivers of Change in workplace brought by Fourth Industrial Revolution

The Fourth Industry Revolution with its opportunities and challenges will bring to the forth the new drivers of change in workplace and organizations. These are summarized as follows:-

  • Extreme Longevity
  • Smart Machines & Sytems – tech can augment and extend our own capabilities.
  • Computational World – increase in sensors and processing makes the world a programable system;
  • New Media Ecology – new communication tools require media literacy beyond text;
  • Super Structured Organizations – social technologies drive new forms of production and value creation
  • Globally Connected World – diversity and adaptability is at center of operations.


The Skills of Tomorrow needed in the 4IR world

With the drivers of change as enumerated above, the skill-set that would be required by the “jobs- of –the- future” would change rapidly. Some of these skills are specified in the following info:-

New Media Literacy: ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms and to leverage these media forms for persuasive communication.

Virtual Collaboration: ability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of the virtual team.

Cognitive Load Management: Ability to discriminate and filter information for importance and understand how to maximise cognitive functions.

Social Intelligence – ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions;

Computational Thinking – ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and understand data based reasoning.

Transdisciplinary – literacy and ability to understand concepts across multiple landscapes;

Mindset Design – ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes;

Need for Education 4.0 framework


One of the imperatives of the 4IR is human capital enhancements to be able to meet the knowledge and skills requirements. This, puts demand on knowledge production and innovation applications of knowledge. Also, changes in reading and learning habits need that educationalists devise new techniques.


The rapid pace of emergence of Industry 4.0 requires that Education 4.0 also leapfrogs from the current Education 2.0 framework to Education 3.0/4.0. Education 1.0: centuries of experience with memorization 
Education 2.0: Internet-enabled learning
Education 3.0: Consuming & Producing knowledge
Education 4.0: Empowering education to produce innovation


Boitshepo Bolele is the Director of Hlanganani ICT Botswana, a BQA Accredited ICT Institute and Secretariat of WOMEN IN TECH Botswana Chapter, located at Unit 21 THE OFFICE, Tel:  3132255 / 72537788.  You are invited to contact us for further engagement on the matter or to enroll for membership of WOMEN IN TECH Botswana Chapter.

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