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Think20 Says Artificial Intelligence (AI) Based Learning Technologies Can Overcome Current Educational Challenges

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G20’s think tank group warns missing generation’s skill gap must be addressed for sustained economic growth in a post COVID-19 era

A task force of the G20 research and policy advice network, Think20 (T20), has identified artificial intelligence (AI) based learning technologies as the recommended approach to overcoming current educational challenges and ensuring existing and future employees are prepared to be a member of the workforce of today and tomorrow.

With economies reeling from the repercussions of COVID-19, T20 research has highlighted it is not only the transition from education to employment that must be reformed, but also that the skills of those already within employment that no longer meet evolving market requirements. Recommendations laid out within twelve research-based T20 Policy Briefs outline how G20 member countries can address their individual challenges to ensure economies can recover and achieve sustained growth, as the increased use of AI changes the employment landscape in the digital age.

As a viable solution to the generational skills gap, Task Force 6 (TF6) outlines four key recommendations G20 member countries can adopt to utilise AI-based learning, including embracing and regulating industry micro-credentials; government funding for workplace learning in traditional sectors and those working within the platform and gig economies; the promotion of immersive, interactive AI for skills development as a learning aid and not in replacement of teachers; and the promotion of innovative technical and vocational education training (TVET) institutions with the backing of quality control and licensing bodies.

When discussing the immediate need for reforms, Heidi Alaskary, visiting senior research fellow, KFCRIS and lead co-chair of TF6, said: “The policies TF6 has chosen to focus on will have a direct impact on how we, as an international community, shape our immediate future. It is evident we are on the cusp of a significant global change and areas of reform, such as the reliance on AI, have shifted from being interesting concepts to becoming critical conversations that require urgent attention. COVID-19 has accelerated those issues that were already prevalent, revealing the varying skill gaps across all generations. The older, missing generation of over 35s would traditionally gain skills in one speciality area, with many people remaining on the same career path for life. It is this generation that must develop the agility to diversify their knowledge base and embrace data analysis if we are to ensure no-one is left behind.

“The youth generation, on the other hand, will have, on average, twelve discreet job roles throughout their lifetime. While they are technically savvy and well-versed in many of the skills future economies will require, they often lack the required resilience and soft skills the older generations have. It is now the responsibility of governments, industries and citizens to collaborate to humanise the technological process and bring balance to the future way of working.”

Paul Grainger, co-director for the Centre for Educations and Work; Enterprise Lead for the Department of Education, Practice and Society at UCL Institute of Education; and co-chair of TF6 added: “The rapid technological migration businesses have been forced to undertake during 2020 has highlighted the skill gap among over 35s and the need to balance education reform between the youth population and the missing generation of adults whose jobs are being replaced by technology. Pre-COVID-19, the fourth industrial revolution was already rebalancing employment away from repetitive manual work, in favour of automated, AI-supported roles. Examples of this include robots replacing hospital porters, self-checkout systems in supermarkets and the high street, and online delivery reducing the demand for shop assistants, ultimately resulting in job losses.”

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development estimates global unemployment rates in May stood at 8.4 per cent and could reach 9.4 per cent by the end of 2020 as a result of COVID-19. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the virus could cause the equivalent of 195 million job losses. T20 predicts those economies heavily reliant on traditional service industries, such as retail and wholesale, food and accommodation, business services and administration, and manufacturing, which together add up to 37.5 per cent of global employment, will be most negatively impacted. Those dependent on manufacturing, however, will feel less of an impact compared to the other ILO-listed sectors as the demand for goods is still high. It is, however, not clear how extraction economies relying on mining and natural resources will perform as, for example, reduced travel has seen a decline in oil demand. The ILO also warns agriculture, the largest sector in most developing countries, is at risk owing to containment measures and risks of food insecurity are emerging.

Various AI-learning modes were identified by TF6 to bridge the gap and begin to reskill and upskill those across both demographics. Passive, program-based learning is not recommended for those looking to challenge the learner’s powers of concentration. While this method is cost-effective, it has been ranked by TF6 as the least effective. For educational institutions and businesses looking to fully embrace AI and provide the learner with a richer educational experience, a hybrid of human interaction and bespoke digital platform learning are optimal.

Discussing how the varying learning modes can be adopted, Grainger said: “Adapting in a society where human proximity is dangerous but where social interaction is still the preferred method of training and learning is a universal challenge. However, each country must work to identify and implement a solution that works for them, or they risk economic suffering in the long term. Whether skills are taught directly, funded by the government, or indirectly funded by the sectors themselves, will vary. For many, a blended approach is likely the way forward. For example, migrating university lectures online while still conducting seminars in-person, to ensure students are receiving the social interaction they require during the learning process, reduces the danger of COVID-19 transmission by 50 per cent.

“For all generations, the secret to educating the unwilling is to make it a social act, and whether this is in person or via an immersive digital infrastructure will differ from country to country. However, the danger still prevails that if we don’t address the youth skill gap now, many countries will find themselves falling behind international growth figures as the nature of education and training has a direct impact on a country’s economy.”

TF6 concludes that while cost implications will continue to be a barrier for success for many, a challenge exacerbated by the economic implications of COVID-19, the only way in which countries can affect any long-lasting, significant changes and move comfortably into the future of work is with unified, global cooperation on minimum standards within technical and vocational training.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Communities in Delta State Shut OML30 Operates by Heritage Energy Operational Services Ltd

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The OML30 operated by Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited in Delta State has been shut down by the host communities for failing to meet its obligations to the 112 host communities.

The host communities, led by its Management Committee/President Generals, had accused the company of gross indifference and failure in its obligations to the host communities despite several meetings and calls to ensure a peaceful resolution.

The station with a production capacity of 80,000 barrels per day and eight flow stations operates within the Ughelli area of Delta State.

The host communities specifically accused HEOSL of failure to pay the GMOU fund for the last two years despite mediation by the Delta State Government on May 18, 2020.

Also, the host communities accused HEOSL of ‘total stoppage of scholarship award and payment to host communities since 2016’.

The Chairman, Dr Harrison Oboghor and Secretary, Mr Ibuje Joseph that led the OML30 host communities explained to journalists on Monday that the host communities had resolved not to backpedal until all their demands were met.

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Crude Oil Recovers from 4 Percent Decline as Joe Biden Wins

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Oil Prices Recover from 4 Percent Decline as Joe Biden Wins

Crude oil prices rose with other financial markets on Monday following a 4 percent decline on Friday.

This was after Joe Biden, the former Vice-President and now the President-elect won the race to the White House.

Global benchmark oil, Brent crude oil, gained $1.06 or 2.7 percent to $40.51 per barrel on Monday while the U.S West Texas Intermediate crude oil gained $1.07 or 2.9 percent to $38.21 per barrel.

On Friday, Brent crude oil declined by 4 percent as global uncertainty surged amid unclear US election and a series of negative comments from President Trump. However, on Saturday when it became clear that Joe Biden has won, global financial markets rebounded in anticipation of additional stimulus given Biden’s position on economic growth and recovery.

Trading this morning has a risk-on flavor, reflecting increasing confidence that Joe Biden will occupy the White House, but the Republican Party will retain control of the Senate,” Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney.

“The outcome is ideal from a market point of view. Neither party controls the Congress, so both trade wars and higher taxes are largely off the agenda.”

The president-elect and his team are now working on mitigating the risk of COVID-19, grow the world’s largest economy by protecting small businesses and the middle class that is the backbone of the American economy.

There will be some repercussions further down the road,” said OCBC’s economist Howie Lee, raising the possibility of lockdowns in the United States under Biden.

“Either you’re crimping energy demand or consumption behavior.”

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Nigeria, Other OPEC Members Oil Revenue to Hit 18 Year Low in 2020

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Revenue of OPEC Members to Drop to 18 Year Low in 2020

The United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) has predicted that the oil revenue of members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will decline to 18-year low in 2020.

EIA said their combined oil export revenue will plunge to its lowest level since 2002. It proceeded to put a value to the projection by saying members of the oil cartel would earn around $323 billion in net oil export in 2020.

If realised, this forecast revenue would be the lowest in 18 years. Lower crude oil prices and lower export volumes drive this expected decrease in export revenues,” it said.

The oil expert based its projection on weak global oil demand and low oil prices because of COVID-19.

It said this coupled with production cuts by OPEC members in recent months will impact net revenue of the cartel in 2020.

It said, “OPEC earned an estimated $595bn in net oil export revenues in 2019, less than half of the estimated record high of $1.2tn, which was earned in 2012.

“Continued declines in revenue in 2020 could be detrimental to member countries’ fiscal budgets, which rely heavily on revenues from oil sales to import goods, fund social programmes, and support public services.”

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