Andrei Sharonov: Live and learn

They talk about lifelong education more and more. What is it? To be a regular student who just sits at a desk, or something bigger and wider? And most importantly, how to understand what you need to learn today to be successful tomorrow? We talked about this with the President of the Moscow school of management “SKOLKOVO” Andrei Sharonov.

— Are people ready to learn?

— There is no answer to this question, because we are all different. Much depends on your own mood and on the environment in which the person is. If it is competitive, then he will seek to learn something new, but if he has a habit.

In general, we are programmed for stability, and if you cannot change anything, we will not do it. Self-preservation is pushing for such a strategy of behavior. We try to minimize energy consumption, and if we can sleep, we will sleep. And in order to be active, we must “move our flippers” in the external environment or have an internal attitude that motivates us and does not allow us to live in peace.

“What you are doing today is good, not the fact that it will be in demand tomorrow”.

External circumstances are increasingly forcing us to look at the need for retraining. Everything changes so quickly around us that even the most wonderful competences can become obsolete and unnecessary. We may be out of context, not because we have become poor workers, but because the need for our skills has disappeared. From this point of view, a person should think about what he expects to change the situation in the labor market.

The stone age did not end because the stones ended. And it can happen with any profession. The need for it can disappear before people forget how to do it. It’s dangerous. There is a risk for many professions, for which the demand falls markedly or even disappears.

— How to guess which industry will be in demand? How to understand who you need to learn today? Or is it a lottery every time-maybe it will work?

— The difference between our future and the future of our parents is that it is becoming less predictable. Planning for the long term becomes more and more difficult. Time is compressed, and we get new technologies that are introduced in a few years, not tens or even centuries.

Here is an example. A hundred years have passed between how electricity was discovered and how it began to affect a product with a high added value. And now all otherwise. Smartphones appeared no more than a decade ago, and has captured half of the world. It is difficult to predict what profession will or will not be needed. Nevertheless, such recommendations are made. You need to focus on what will have to constantly learn. For example, you decide to become a doctor. The doctor today, in five years and in ten is “two big differences” as they speak in Odessa. You cannot even with a very good starting knowledge to be a high-class specialist in 15 years. You will need during this time to improve their skills, and therefore learn.

We must stop thinking: ” I studied this year, and I started working this year.” This is wrong. You need to think: “I study all my life and work in parallel.”

— Is our education system ready for this continuous learning?

— Continuous learning does not mean that you are an eternal student and accumulate diplomas. I think that now the value of the formal label will decrease, which you get after graduation. When I talk about continuing education, I first of all mean that you consciously approach the formation of competencies that you need in order to build your career. This can be a remote program and the course. Even a clear and meaningful reading of books is also a continuous education. There was a misalignment, which arose for various reasons in our country. It is believed that if you do not have a University degree, then you are a loser. It is considered very prestigious to have a secondary technical education in the working profession in Switzerland and Germany. This is valued much more than a University diploma and the worse higher education. After all, it may be the “first” and “second” freshness as in the joke. You can be successful and successful person, having only secondary technical education.

— It’s one thing when you study in 20-25 years, but another thing when you are 40-45 years old. It is more difficult to change the scope of activities at this age.

— I am 54 years old, I study at the third program for the last three years. This is not a University; this is additional education. I choose a good program. I want to say I am not the most senior on the course. I see that people come to learn not from boredom at this age, but from the fact that they need it and they want to develop. It’s a life strategy. The level of work requires constant upgrade. Our country lags behind in this for a number of reasons, because we have a fairly closed economy and we can afford a large number of people with not very good education, as long as the competition is low. But the situation is changing. The life of a person, an employee is complicated in terms of the fact that it becomes more difficult for him to “sell”, because the consumer is becoming pickier. And it’s going to drive out to study.

— Are the owners of the companies ready to invest in the intellectual upgrade of employees?

— There’s no one-hundred-percent answer. Not everyone believes that competitiveness increases. It comes to understanding that the quality of education of employees affects success directly sooner or later. I will give an interesting example when the owner of a large company was asked: “Do you feel sorry for the money that you invest in education, are not afraid that the employee will go to competitors?” To which he replied, ” I’m afraid. But most of all I’m afraid if I don’t teach him and he stays.”

— Will the education system in our country be transformed?

— We have experienced a surge in distance learning formats. People have the opportunity to listen to the best professors of the world without leaving home from remote areas of our country. And this is a serious threat to the average and weak universities. This applies not only to Orenburg, but also to Moscow and New York. There are strong and weak educational organizations everywhere. The second trend-the further, the less employers will pay attention to diplomas. They will take more into account where the person has been trained and how to develop skills and competencies. Of course, the pioneers will be private companies that are more relaxed and pay less attention to formalities. The diploma is always clothes on which meet. Assessments give the first idea, but then you start working and it becomes clear what you are good for and what you know. We at work receive money not for diplomas, and for what tasks we are able to solve!

— How to help your child choose a profession? What advice would you give your parents?

— First, they should lower the level of self-confidence. We don’t know those occupations which will face our children in 10-15 years. It is necessary to give the child more opportunities, let him broaden his horizons and communicate more. Do not crush it with your own solutions, let him choose. Secondly,” at the time of admission to the University, he must clearly know what he wants ” – a misconception. We are constantly changing. For example, I dreamed of being a fuel truck driver as a child. And it was my wish for that age. I grew up and my preferences changed. Here I advise you to think about a good broad basic education. It’s okay if your child in the second or third year will understand that it is not his. Due to the fact that there is a system of undergraduate and graduate studies, he has the opportunity to go into a narrower direction. Few can imagine what he wants people at the age of twenty. We grow up and understand what is ours and what is not. And in this case, you can always finish a bachelor’s degree, work, and then go to the master’s degree and get the knowledge that you need.

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