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Training and fostering the press and media workforce in the context of the 4th industrial revolution

(LLCT) - The 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) began in the early years of the 21st century in Europe and has developed and spread to many countries in the world. 4IR has a strong impact on all sectors and areas of life. It requires a new workforce with knowledge, creative skills, and the ability to grasp modern techniques and technologies to create high quality products. The press and media are not outside of this trend. In order to obtain communication products compatible with high-tech platforms to satisfy modern customers’ taste for information, a high quality workforce of press and media workers is required. Training and developing current press and media training centers is an urgent task.

Keywords: 4th industrial revolution, press and media, training and fostering, workforce.

1. The nature of 4IR and its use of manpower

The nature of 4IR is the revolution of applying digital technological values to all aspects of society. It fundamentally changes production modes and creates extraordinary labor productivity. This revolution will cause strong development and prosperity in many countries, but there will also be countries which fail to grasp the opportunity and thus will develop slowly and poorly(1).

This revolution is capable of fitting production chains into systems and managing them by smart processes and data digitization. System administration, cloud computing, smart mobile devices, artificial intelligence, big data, etc are great values brought about by 4IR, creating favorable conditions to enhance the development of commodity production.

Manpower involved in the production processes at offices and factories will be minimized and artificial intelligence and digitized data will enable production processes beyond human imagination. Robots will replace people in heavy work, including sophisticated and detailed calculations.

4IR is the current trend of automation and data exchange in production technology. It includes cyber-physical systems, the internet of things, cloud computing, and cognitive computing(2).

4IR creates “smart factories” with a modular structure, cyber-physical systems to monitor actual processes, and a virtual copy of the real world to make distributed decisions. Through the Internet of Things, cyber-physical systems can communicate and collaborate with one another and with people in real time, with the support of internet services and intra-service and cross-organizational services provided to value chain usage participants.

4IR can create an opportunity for Vietnam’s economy to thrive. To make use of this chance, we need to have a long-term vision and a wise approach compared to previous industrial revolutions.

According to the report on future production readiness published by the World Economic Forum, Vietnam is classified in the group of unready countries for 4IR, ranking only 70/100 nations in human resources and 81/100 in highly specialized laborers(3). In terms of human resources in Southeast Asia, Vietnam stands behind Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines; Vietnam’s rank is close to that of Cambodia. To improve the quality of human resources, a few solutions would be to speed up education and training system reform, giving priority to science and technology sectors, or associating training and career orientation with employment and social demands.

At present, leading countries like the U.S. and Japan also remain in the early stages of production transformation to better suit 4IR. This opens opportunities for other countries. Therefore, some selected industries can be alternated into advanced production readiness together with continuously maintaining traditional production. A report on readiness level for future production issued by the World Economic Forum also recommends that countries should assess and analyze their economies themselves to select effective development strategies(4).

Regarding workforce for 4IR’s requirements, Associate Professor Dr. Ngo Hong Son, Dean of the School of Information and Communication Technology under Hanoi University of Science and Technology, said: “It is essential to prepare high quality human resources in order to access technological achievements in the world in a faster and more effective way. We not only need to invent and create but must also learn effectively. Along with learning, we need to have a good relationship with the world by joining and cooperating with leading enterprises and research centers of the world. The State should have new policies to help the economy adapt to 4IR”(5).

Workforce training is a key factor for sustainable development and successful access to 4IR. Training methods should be changed to enhance learners’ self-learning ability and curriculum should be closely related to practical knowledge, thoroughly applying information technologies in all activities and at the same time boosting internationalization in training and activities of science and technology.

To make use of opportunities and catch up with 4IR, it is necessary to start from the most simple, vital and most sustainable issues that are needed to develop high-tech human resources. Schools should build smart learning classrooms and have extensive cooperation between businesses and schools. In addition, it is essential to push up the training of lecturers in terms of depth and width.

Training centers for press and media human resources have made strong progress in recent years. Apart from State-owned press and media training facilities with a long history of contribution and development, there are a number of private training centers interested in this issue, especially in communication skills and professional knowledge. The objective is to meet the workforce training requirements in the context of 4IR; however, acknowledgment of this matter’s importance is still limited in terms of practical management perspective to training.

At the conference with the topic “Journalism in the trend of 4IR”, which took place within the framework of the National Newspaper Festival on March 17, 2018, hosted by Vietnam’s Journalist Association, many delegates confirmed that if the press of Vietnam doesn’t soon address the trend of carrying out journalism based on digital technology and integrating smart technologies to optimize production processes and methods, it will be left behind and manipulated by social networks.

2. Innovating training and nurturing press and media human resources in the context of 4IR

The reform of press and media programs content and methods of training is urgent. Below are some recommendations for innovating training and nurturing the press and media human resources in the context of 4IR.

Firstly, press and media schools should teach students new and necessary knowledge and skills relating to journalism and the communication sector in accordance with 4IR features, which are to connect and share data.

Secondly, press and media training in Vietnam was mostly academic in the past. The current trend is creating new industries very quickly and eliminating existing ones just as fast, which addresses new perspectives in terms of training bearing the continuous, open, and liberal features they need. This trend requires press and media lecturers to regularly update knowledge, skills, and teaching method innovation.

As a matter of fact, no university training can keep up with the current development. University training is, at a fundamental level, just on how to think and integrate into the environment, otherwise, agencies and businesses would do workforce training for themselves and society.

Thirdly, it is necessary to have flexible teaching mechanisms and materials so that press and media lecturers can update their knowledge. In addition, it is essential for scientists to change their thinking from pure research to practical applications.

Fourthly, 4IR is the peak of automation that requires press and media agencies to approach the press and media production in a smarter and more accurate way to meet the public’s demands in the least amount of time.

One of the solutions to ensure a sufficient workforce is available for the press and media is education and supplementation of capable staff. Press and media agencies should actively cooperate with schools in training curricula. They also need to receive press and media students for short term and long-term internships with considerations that students’ internships are not just simple practice but are also for teaching working methods and professional practices. By doing so, students will be ready to work immediately after graduation and press and media agencies won’t need to waste time and money for re-training staff.

Preparation of human resources for press and media work is a long-term mission, but training centers have to resolve long-term questions at the same time they deal with short-term issues.

3. Some recommendations

Press and media training and fostering facilities should recognize clearly the importance and urgency of training human resources in the context of 4IR. Being fully aware of this issue can enable the focus on renewing programs, content, and methods of training, investing in facilities and workforce to meet society’s demands.

Training and fostering facilities should embark on actions to restructure training curriculums, sectors, and specialized fields, especially paying attention to new sectors and specialized sectors attached to new techniques, technologies, and digital press and media operational methods.

It is necessary to focus on investing in modern teaching and learning facilities which are sufficient to meet professional practice for students. Theoretical lessons may need to be sacrificed for the sake of practice enhanced with practical work.

Training and fostering facilities for the press and media also need to take care of designing good policies to attract high quality human resources for holding training courses. Staffs and lecturers should be trained, cultivated, and practice journalism and communication regularly to improve and acquire new knowledge and skills for training.

In short, 4IR will fundamentally change production modes and generate incredible labor productivity. This revolution will make many countries thrive and become prosperous, but there may be also countries that are slow and fail to grasp the opportunity. Thus, they are likely to develop slowly and poorly. For the press and media sector, if training facilities miss this chance to reform and innovate training curriculums, content, and methods, they will be lag behind and fail to meet social needs.

 

Endnotes:

(1) Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics: The fourth industrial revolution - opportunities and challenges for Vietnam, Political Theory Publishing House, Hanoi, 2017.

(2) Kagermann, H., W. Wahlster and J. Helbig: Recommendations for implementing the strategic initiative Industry 4.0: Final report of the Industry 4.0 Working Group, 2013

(3) Le Thanh: Industrial Revolution 4.0: Opportunities for Vietnam to develop, http://vietnamnet.vn.

(4), (5) Dan tri: Human resources challenges for revolution 4.0, http://dantri.com.vn, 2018

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Pham Huy Ky

Academy of Journalism and Communication

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