Prime Minister Janez Janša: Digitisation and artificial intelligence will become an essential integral part of the future
Today, Prime Minister Janez Janša gave an opening speech at the third Skills Summit entitled Skills Strategies for a World in Recovery. This years' summit, organised by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), is held virtually and hosted by Slovenia. The Prime Minister greeted the participants in a video address. In addition to Mr Janša, Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD, Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen, also spoke at the opening of the event, which was attended by the Minister of Education, Simona Kustec, the Minister of Labour, Janez Cigler Kralj, the Minister of Health, Tomaž Gantar, and the Minister of Public Administration, Boštjan Koritnik.
Today, Prime Minister Janez Janša gave an opening speech at the third Skills Summit entitled Skills Strategies for a World in Recovery. This year's summit, organised by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), is held virtually and hosted by Slovenia. The Prime Minister greeted the participants in a video address. In addition to Mr Janša, Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD, Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen, also spoke at the opening of the event, which was attended by the Minister of Education, Simona Kustec, the Minister of Labour, Janez Cigler Kralj, the Minister of Health, Tomaž Gantar, and the Minister of Public Administration, Boštjan Koritnik.
The purpose of this year's Skills Summit is to foster a global discussion on how politics and practices, with their comprehensive approach and through cooperation of all stakeholders, can contribute to the promotion of culture and the development of lifelong learning systems. This year, the Skills Summit is particularly focused on the recovery and resilience of individuals and systems in the context of the coronavirus epidemic.
In his opening speech, the Prime Minister pointed out that the COVID-19 epidemic revealed the advantages and the obstacles of a digital economy. "We have to learn from this difficult time and act accordingly," noted Mr Janša and added that the new post-COVID-19 international environment requires us to embrace a pragmatic way of thinking and acting in economy. He considers that we first need to enable the economic recovery and provide a flexible infrastructure. "Skills are in the centre of a long-term economic recovery and competitiveness of Slovenia, the European Union and the OECD countries," pointed out the Prime Minister, highlighting that it is precisely the skills that are crucial for a long-term economic recovery and that we need to hone skills in all areas.
In his opinion, the world is on the verge of a fourth industrial revolution. "If we wish to be successful, we need to provide our workforce and economy with specific soft and hard skills related to digitisation and innovation. Success is not only built by software and hardware specialists, but also by people with knowledge on artificial intelligence, robotics and nanotechnology," he observed. Mr Janša maintained that we also need people with new management capabilities, adding that jobs based on communication skills, social perception, persuasion and negotiation cannot be replaced by robots. "To become successful, to fulfil our potential and to tackle the challenges ahead, we need to foster soft and hard skills alike. The content of the new curricula must be able to satisfy the demands of our new environment," Prime Minister Janez Janša stated clearly.
He also pointed out that numerous OECD studies showed that students lack mathematical skills, skills in reading comprehension, active listening and writing, judgment and decision-making skills, systemic analysis and evaluation skills, and complex problem-solving skills. In his opinion, the aforementioned skills should receive special attention in schools. Furthermore, accounting and business and project management should be incorporated in teaching and curricula.
Continuing his opening speech, the Prime Minister emphasised "We know not what the future will bring, however, we do know that digitisation and artificial intelligence will be an integral part of it."
Ten years ago, there were no such contemporary jobs that are most sought-after today. To make individuals successful and competitive in future, we must equip them with unconventional interdisciplinary skills covering a broad range of knowledge. In his opinion, what applies for individuals also applies for countries. "The adaptable, the flexible, the creative, the eager learners and the out-of-the-box thinkers will be the winners. The skills of charting unknown waters are valuable and essential for the future economic and political well-being," he added.
Concluding the opening address, Prime Minister Janez Janša maintained that this is the policy that Slovenia is pursuing and that every effort will be made for this policy to be followed by the European Union and the OECD countries. "The EU budget and recovery fund are designed to support our efforts. Sufficient funds are available to facilitate urgent investments, to create the economy of the future and to provide the individuals with skills required in the future."
The event at Brdo pri Kranju was also attended, in person or virtually, by State Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, Simon Zajc, Vice President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for Promoting the European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, and Head of the Representation of the European Commission in the Republic of Slovenia, Zoran Stančič.