The have been the first, second, and third Industrial revolutions but transitioning from the 3rd to fourth industrial revolution seems to be presenting serious challenges and that becomes necessary for us as a Country to start preparing the starting point is Early Childhood Development.
To give a synopsis of what I am talking about, I will therefore like to borrow from some great writer who has beautifully summarized what I am talking about (WEF,2016a)
“The first industrial revolution used water and steam power to mechanise production. The second used electric power to create mass production. The third (the digital revolution )used electronics and information technology to automate production. .. (the fourth ) is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres. When compared with previous industrial revolutions, the fourth is evolving at an exponential rather than a linear pace. Moreover, it is disrupting almost every industry in every country-and the breadth and depth of these changes herald the transformation of entire systems of production, management, and governance. ..The bottom line, however, is the same: business leaders and senior executives need to understand their changing environment, challenge the assumptions of operating teams, and relentlessly and continuously innovative “
Now, given this evolving environment, questions ought to be asked and that is how ready we are, particularly in Early Childhood Development Sector and how we influence and shape the Post-School Education and Training System.
We need to begin and re-examine the Skills Act and also carefully analyse the Organising Framework for Occupation (OFO) within the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA )and how these speak to the occupational qualifications under the Quality Council for Occupation (QCTO )and ask a question whether do these prepares current and future workforce for the fourth industrial revolution and what is the impact to Early Childhood Development and what do we need to change and is the current National Skills Development Strategy appropriate for the preparation of the fourth industrial revolution and workforce and is Early Childhood Development well accommodated into this Strategy.
Let us talk and begin to ask hard questions as we can no longer afford to downplay the significance of Early Childhood Development. For that, the future depends on Quality Early Childhood Development.
By Rex Motheo