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Technology-en ... for young people facing the future of unemployment

With rising fuel and food costs in South Africa, it’s easy to forget the lasting problem of unemployment. Numbers released by Statistics SA Recently, it shows that unemployment continues to burden young people. Nearly two-thirds (63.9%) of people aged 15 to 24 are unemployed, and 42.1% of people aged 25 to 34 are unemployed. South Africa’s unemployment rate is one of the highest in the world, especially among young people.

Despite the lack of work in many areas, people in the science, technology, engineering and math (stem) professions are much less likely to face unemployment.

Part of the reason for South Africa’s high unemployment rate is the lack of skills, especially in the modern world, which is characterized by technological advances.

It is difficult to imagine the world without the technological advances of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). Artificial intelligence (AI), robots, cobots, the Internet of Things, and advanced technology software are gradually dominating the world of work.

The forecast is 2030 Approximately 73 million jobs Lost due to automation. This may be scary, but there is hope for graduates with the relevant skills to support these innovations.

Improvement and innovation

Around the world, future careers are stem-based. No matter where you live, having an education at Stem is said to give you an advantage in securing employment.

The new social and economic demands for higher intellectual skills that accompany the global information technology revolution will impact the educational experience offered to young people.

A country’s growth and competitiveness relies on continuous technological improvement and innovation, driven by a workforce that needs to adapt and operate with greater autonomy.

In the past, routine work skills were valued as an attribute, but today it is expected that each employee will think critically, solve abstract problems, and come up with new ideas for improvement.

Individuals familiar with core education may be well-developed with higher thinking skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and creative thinking.

However, the World Economic Forum (WEF) reports concerns about the shortage of qualified scientists, engineers and other executive personnel in South Africa.

Crisis of trunk education

There is no doubt that the country’s Stem education is at stake and that school learners do not have the experience they need to pursue further research at Stem and ultimately pursue a Stem-related career.

The evidence for this situation is very clear. South Africa participates in the following international benchmark tests: Trends in international mathematics and scientific research (TIMSS). South African learners’ grades have proven to be disastrous and we consistently list them as one of the worst performing countries.

In addition, the performance of core learners on high stakes entrance exams should not be what they should be. According to a survey conducted in this country, in most South African classrooms, learners have had an exciting and discouraging experience in learning Stem, continuing Stem education at the after-school level, and then continuing their Stem-related careers. Motivates you to choose.

One way to excite learners in the field of science is to make them think like scientists. Inquiry learning, which is at the heart of the school’s science curriculum, is seen as one of the effective approaches to guide learners into the world of science.

Unequal resources

However, schools need traditional science laboratories, equipment, reagents, and other resources to successfully incorporate practical scientific learning through inquiry. Unfortunately, these resources are not readily available in resource-poor schools.

This is because learners from socio-economically disadvantaged communities do not have access to quality Stem education at school and are denied admission to pursue after-school research at Stem, which increases their chances of employment. Means.

By using advanced learning technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality, we hope to provide young people with a learning experience that stimulates their interest in stems and perhaps immerse them in it. It is our claim that we can produce it. Carrier on the stem.

The Covid-19 pandemic caused widespread disruption in education at both school and higher education levels, creating the urgency to implement and develop solutions to combat this disruption.

Open the door to learning

While global medical research has been invested in finding vaccines to combat the corona virus, trunk education researchers such as the University of Johannesburg have been working on enhanced learning (TEL) during the transition to remote and online learning. I devoted myself to exploring room. ..

The study reveals that TEL can open the door to unprecedented learning opportunities in human history, especially in the stem. For example, technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality can change the way students work on Stem topics. Higher education schools need to take advantage of how this medium pushes the boundaries of learning to a new dimension.

Virtual and augmented reality applications that simulate scientific concepts and provide educators with the opportunity to visualize and explore phenomena through multiple levels of representation and interact with their learning objects at the same time are powerful for scientific learning. It is an educational tool and enhances fairness in education.

In countries like South Africa, where the historical disadvantages of marginalized communities continue, much hope for educational transformation is fixed in the adoption of such learning techniques.

The use of such techniques for their mobility and interactivity is much to provide a viable option to the traditional laboratory experience that has been denied to the majority of learners in this country. It has the potential of.

However, the use of AR and VR in Stem remains relatively unexplored in South Africa’s educational environment. Researchers at the Varsteme Hub of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality at the University of Johannesburg are leading the study of how to integrate VR and AR into the teaching and learning experiences of teachers and learners, respectively.

Rethinking education

We will rethink learning in basic and higher education and maintain a mix of face-to-face and VR learning experiences in a variety of learning programs. The powerful emergence of such technology is not just a reaction to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, but a future marker of trunk education.

Deployments of such technologies have the potential to become game changers, but socio-economic factors need to be negotiated. Online platforms consume data. South Africa is one of the most exorbitant data costs in the world. Technical equipment is expensive. There is a risk that historically poor communities will be further disadvantaged.

This was true during the Covid blockade from March 2020, where schools in wealthy communities could easily transition to online education due to their existing infrastructure, but learners attending schools in poorer communities. Was a disadvantage.

The only way to deal with this is through a partnership between the government and the private sector that reduces data costs for educational purposes and makes technology devices more accessible to the poor. DM

Professor Umesh Ramnarain is responsible for the Faculty of Science and Technology Education (Faculty of Education) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ).

Mafor Penn is a science instructor and doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Early Childhood Education at UJ.