Principal's Perspective | 19-Jan-2017

Creative Destruction and Lifelong Learning

By Rosemary Evans, Principal

This week, The Economist magazine carried a special report entitled "Lifelong Learning: How to Survive in the Age of Automation”.

The economist Joseph Schumpeter is connected with the term “creative destruction”. It is an economic concept that refers to the tendency within capitalist economies for innovation to create forces that significantly transform – or even destroy – the current economic order. This includes the employment landscape.

The impact of technology on the economic order is clearly evident today in spheres as diverse as music, transportation, media and publishing. The World Economic Forum reported recently that 65% of students entering primary school today will eventually have jobs that currently do not exist. Uncertainty is an increasingly pervasive element of many careers. In such an environment, being committed to continuous learning is viewed as essential to ensuring that one is able to both find employment and to keep working. 

At UTS, we focus on providing students with the skills to be effective lifelong learners and to understand that learning does not stop after university. Our teachers, too, are encouraged to continue learning and growing, and.they receive financial support to take courses and to extend their skills. This type of support is viewed as essential for maintaining a vital and dynamic workforce. Singapore has introduced financial incentives for all citizens to continue learning. Google today prides itself on hiring “learning animals”. 

Curiosity has been identified as a valued attribute and a trait that is essential to becoming adaptable. It is my observation that what distinguishes UTS students is their curiosity - and the UTS program feeds that curiosity. The Economist concludes that it is not yet clear whether or not curiosity can be taught. What is clear, however, is that individuals can become more effective learners. At UTS, reflection on one’s strengths and areas for growth as a learner is incorporated into everything we do. Our graduates state that after UTS,when they confront learning challenges ,they believe they have the skills to tackle these challenges and to excel. 


Photo: from S5 leadership education trip.