Constant Learning Will Be Key to Success in the Future; What One Learns in School Is Obsolete in Five Years; to Cope with Change, One Needs Seven Critical Skills

Manila Bulletin, April 21, 2004 | Go to article overview
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Constant Learning Will Be Key to Success in the Future; What One Learns in School Is Obsolete in Five Years; to Cope with Change, One Needs Seven Critical Skills


In a global economy that is constantly in flux because of new information and technology, how does one stay ahead?

By primarily embracing the fact that one will have to be constantly learning and adapting to new innovations every few years, according to Romulo Romero, Managing Director of OTi Consulting, a firm operating in Manila, Singapore and other parts of the region.

Knowledge doubles at a pace of about every three years, according to studies cited by the Singapore Productivity and Standards Board. This means that half of what one learns in school is obsolete in about five years, explains Romero who heads the Manila office of the regional management consultancy firm.

"The shortening life cycle of knowledge and skills means one will have to develop a set of critical skills that will allow the constant acquisition of new knowledge and ways of doing things," says the trainer who conducts OTi courses that help participants acquire these critical skills. The Singapore-based company was recognized by the Singapore government for two years in a row as a leading provider of programs that enable the work force to meet the requirements of the knowledge economy.

According to Romero, these skills include: effective learning strategies; high proficiency in reading, writing and computation; and problem solving and creativity. In addition, the critical skills also cover old-fashioned abilities that gain new emphasis in flatter organizations, namely: listening and oral communication; taking personal responsibility for career and self-development; being a team player; and leadership.

Programs to acquire the seven skills have been called CREST or Critical Enabling Skills Training in Singapore. In fact, the Singaporean government has embarked on an ambitious program to upgrade its entire work force through CREST. The importance of acquiring these seven skills required by the knowledge economy has also been validated by federations of human resource specialists in the US, Canada, Britain and Japan.

OTi consultant Mae Legaspi points out that because information is moving so fast, organizations can no longer just focus on training that simply highlights the transmittal of technical content. "Content, after all, will change. What ought to remain constant is an openness to adapt to change," she says.

As described in OTis website (http://www.

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