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The Fourth Industrial Revolution is already affecting Asia and the Pacific, with the changes expected to accelerate in coming decades. Artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, big data, and other emerging technologies will interact to alter industry. This is predicted to have serious, far-reaching implications on the world of work and educational institutions responsible for preparing students for jobs in this changing landscape. To manage these changes and take full advantage of the opportunities available in future industry, higher education institutions must adapt to meet the needs of industry and student expectations.
The Asian Productivity Organization (APO) and China Productivity Center (CPC) organized a coordination meeting for a research project on Education for Future Industry, 19–21 November 2019 in Taipei. It was attended by APO Secretariat and CPC staff in addition to Chief Experts Dr. Jinho Choi and Dr. Kyung-Seok Min of Sejong University of the ROK and five national experts comprising Dr. Mei-Mei Song (ROC), Dr. Lee Wing On (Singapore), Dr. Seema Joshi (India), Dr. Phanasan Kohsuwan (Thailand), and Dr. Pham Van Hong (Vietnam). The experts, who specialize in economics and management as well as education, set the framework for exploring different approaches to higher education reform across APO members aimed at responding to the needs of future industry. APO Secretariat Research & Planning Department Officer Polchate Kraprayoon attended as the research coordinator.
The experts presented analyses of general trends and issues in higher education and their links to industries of the future, with details on specific reform initiatives. It was clear from the discussion that a clear but broad understanding of key concepts like future industry, skills, and higher education was needed to proceed constructively. A step-by-step action plan was developed to analyze local case studies in depth. Based on the research findings and recommendations, follow-up activities will involve raising awareness of the need for higher education reform in APO members to prepare a productive workforce for industries of the future.