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The Urgency And Imperative For Smart Education

10 Jun 2019 | Tay Kok-Chin, Chairman, Smart Cities Network

The horrors of the recent terror attack captured in video by the gunman in New Zealand prompted Facebook to remove 1.5 million videos of the attack within 24 hours. Such action was to minimise its spread. It was somewhat reactive too. There are now growing calls globally for urgent action for social media companies to do much more – and to combat harmful content and fake news.

It is now a matter of utmost urgency and imperative for all of us to provide Smart Education with digital literacy and an integrated approach in education for future generations growing up with the Internet and social media platforms.

Following the terror attacks in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand where 50 people died and 39 others wounded, there was a deep sense of urgency for a global response on how to prevent such acts. Encouragingly, a few governments have begun to legislate policies. In Australia, a recent law passed requires hosting service companies to remove “abhorrent violent material expeditiously” or face up to 3 years jail or fines in the millions of dollars. In Germany, a law was passed requiring social media companies to remove “manifestly unlawful” posts within an hour, such as hate speech or face a fine up to 50 million euros.

But, are laws sufficient to prevent such terror attacks? No, I don’t think so.            

While this is a step in the right direction, more should be done in educating our youths on digital literacy. For example, what is social media etiquette when using it and how do you check whether posts are real or not? It is perhaps time to look at this matter seriously and urgently. The following are key foundation steps which the country could consider.

(1) Introduce a National Movement for Digital Literacy             

The World Economic Forum has an initiative called “Shaping the Future of Digital Economy and Society”, where a Coalition for Digital Intelligence was formed. It is a multi-stakeholder community that will coordinate the implementation of the digital intelligence framework by the Coalition across both technology and education sectors. The 3 partners in this Coalition are:

1.DQ Institute

2.Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

3.Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

DQ Institute, an international think-tank based in Singapore, has used an academically rigorous process to aggregate over 20 leading frameworks from around the world. The resulting framework, called Digital Intelligence (DQ), includes eight comprehensive areas deemed necessary for digital life related to digital safety, digital rights, and digital emotional intelligence.

This Digital Intelligence framework is being institutionally adopted simultaneously by both the OECD, for dialogue and dissemination in the education sector, and by the IEEE, which will trigger an similar process in the technology industry. Countries embarking on Smart Education should leverage such framework with a nation movement as soon as possible.

Source: World Economic Forum: https://www.weforum.org/system-initiatives/shaping-the-future-of-digital-economy-and-society

(2) Integrate Digital Literacy into National Education Curriculum

Infocomm Technology courses are increasingly being introduced into national curriculums around the world. The exponential pace in which social media platforms has increased their reach meant that curriculums that take months or years to developed are grossly inadequate to cope with its influence.

Hence, it is imperative that we lay the foundation and guide curriculum developers at the Ministries of Education to integrate digital literacy and a better understanding in the use of social media platform into the national curriculums. Several leading academic institutions have started to incorporate the DQ Global Standard for digital literacy, skills and readiness recently launched by the Coalition for Digital Intelligence at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai.

(3) Implement an Integrated Smart Education Training Initiative

As countries began to implement initiatives for Smart Cities, an integrated approach for Smart Education to develop future professionals for the digital economy. This requires the introduction of new technologies for the 4th Industrial Revolution into pilot projects for Smart Cities, ideally with innovative companies. Together with the National University of Singapore and other stakeholders, we are now exploring the possibility of an integrated approach to provide an integrated 1-Year Curriculum and Practicum for the development of Smart Cities, assisting the participants to be prepared for an increasingly digitized economy.

Kok-Chin will be moderating the “Future Cities Panel” – Building the Foundations of Smart Cities and Beyond, on Day 1 of ConnecTechAsia Summit, 18 June 2019. In this session, leaders and subject experts will discuss pertinent challenges facing the amalgamation of smart cities, as well as infrastructure and regulatory issues in driving digitalisation, citizen inclusiveness and sustainability of future cities. Register here to attend!

Additionally, Smart Cities Network will host a half-day Smart Cities Project Activation Workshop at ConnecTechAsia on Day 2, 19 June 2019. Representatives of Smart Cities in ASEAN will be invited to share on potential projects with interested business investors and partners. Please send a note to ConnecTechAsia if you are interested to attend this Workshop.


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