COMMONS

Fourth Industrial Revolution inquiry launched

01 May 2018

The Education Committee launches inquiry into the challenges posed and opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The inquiry

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterised by the emergence of a range of new technologies including artificial intelligence, robotics and the internet of things. The changes are likely to have a major impact on both productivity and the labour market, with low and medium skilled jobs most at risk.

The inquiry will examine how best to prepare young people to take advantage of future opportunities by looking at the suitability of the school curriculum. It will also look at the role of lifelong learning and how best to help people climb the ladder of opportunity in the future.

Benefits and challenges of increased automation

Launching the inquiry, Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

“Increased automation and connectivity during the Fourth Industrial Revolution promise to bring huge benefits to our economy by boosting our low productivity rates. At the same time, they bring tremendous challenges to the job market with potentially 28% of jobs taken by 16 to 24 year olds likely to be at risk of automation by the 2030s.

We are already behind other countries when it comes to skills and if we don’t prepare for the changes brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution we risk falling even further behind.

If we are to truly benefit from the development of new technology, we must act quickly to make sure our education system and curriculum is ready. We must prepare our current and future workforce for new challenges, and ensure a focus on teaching the right skills in our schools and colleges.

We know that those from disadvantaged backgrounds with low basic skills are most at risk from automation so we must ensure that the Fourth Industrial Revolution works for all by improving social justice and giving everyone the chance to climb the ladder of opportunity.”

Terms of Reference - call for written submissions

The Committee is inviting written evidence on:

  • The interaction between the Government’s industrial, skills and digital strategies
  • The suitability of the current curriculum to prepare young people for the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • The impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the delivery of teaching and learning in schools and colleges
  • The role of lifelong learning in re-skilling the current workforce
  • Place-based strategies for education and skills provision; and
  • The challenges and opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution for improving social justice and productivity

The deadline for written submissions is Thursday 21 June 2018

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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