by David Hall

The Fourth Industrial Revolution has come about primarily because of the convergence of technology; the increasingly rapid pace of technology development and upgrading; and the falling cost of sophisticated technologies. This continually steepening curve of technology evolution demands new and different workforce skills, changing and updating more rapidly than ever before. Conventional models of higher education will increasingly struggle to deliver the workforce necessary to keep up with FIRe and to maintain or increase Philippine competitiveness.

This paper explains some of the challenges and some of the solutions, primarily in higher education, drawing on experience in other countries. Examples are drawn from the US, the UK but also, most crucially as a regional competitor, from Malaysia. These examples demonstrate the pressing need to continually improve interaction between industry and universities in the Philippines and to seriously consider the urgent remodeling of traditional approaches to higher education. Given the current rankings of Philippine universities in the region it is clear that a step change in approach is required if FIRe is not to result an ever-widening gap, with the inevitable detrimental knock-on effects to the national economy.