你所不知道的慕课——不是每个人都有机会重头再来

按: 这篇是经济学人1月刊“终身学习”特别报道的最后一篇,关注在技术越来越有可能替代人类工作的今天,低技能群体的重新教育问题。读完本文你将了解到目前的MOOC教育模式带来便利的同时其实并不公平(大学生们赶紧抓紧时间自我提升吧),以及新加坡这样的国家为其国民提供的继续教育福利。作为个人来说,不能坐等国家或公司提供福利,利用一切资源抓紧学习才是王道。
春节假期就快结束了,扶朕起来,继续学习!

The elephant in the truck

Retraining low-skilled workers

Systems for continuous reskilling threaten to buttress inequality
Jan 14th 2017

英文中有句谚语叫做an elephant in the room,意思是there is an obvious problem or difficult situation that people do not want to talk about.此处有戏仿的意味,因为下文提到了卡车司机。
buttress: to support or give strength to sb/sth

慕课时代的教育公平
  1. IMAGINE YOU ARE a 45-year-old long-distance lorry driver. You never enjoyed school and left as soon as you could, with a smattering of qualifications and no great love of learning. The job is tiring and solitary, but it does at least seem to offer decent job security: driver shortages are a perennial complaint in the industry, and the average age of the workforce is high (48 in Britain), so the shortfalls are likely to get worse. America’s Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) says there were 1.8m truckers in 2014 and expects a 5% rise in their number by 2024. “As the economy grows, the demand for goods will increase and more truck drivers will be needed to keep supply chains moving,” predicts the BLS website, chirpily.
    1)想象你是一个45岁的长途货车司机。你从来没有喜欢过上学,并尽早离开了学校,只有一点点专业资格,也不爱学习。这项工作是累人而孤独的,但它至少似乎能够提供体面的工作保障:司机短缺是这个行业长年的抱怨,劳动力的平均年龄很高(在英国为48岁),所以司机短缺情况可能会变得更糟。美国劳工统计局(BLS)表示,2014年有180万卡车司机,预计到2024年将增加5%。“随着经济的增长,货物需求将增加,需要更多的卡车司机来保持供应链运转”,BLS网站欢快地预测道。

  2. But the future might unfold very differently. For all the excitement over self-driving passenger cars, the freight industry is likely to adopt autonomous vehicles even faster. And according to a report in 2014 by Morgan Stanley, a bank, full automation might reduce the pool of American truck drivers by two-thirds. Those projections came hedged with caveats, and rightly so. The pace of adoption may be slowed by regulation. Drivers may still be needed to deal with unforeseen problems; if such jobs require more technical knowledge, they may even pay better. Employment in other sectors may grow as freight costs come down. But there is a chance that in the not too distant future a very large number of truckers will find themselves redundant. The implications are immense.
    2)但是,未来可能会以不同的方式展开。自动驾驶乘用汽车引起了各界的兴奋,而货运行业可能更快地采用自动驾驶车辆。根据2014年摩根士丹利(一家银行)的报告,全自动化可能会使美国卡车司机的数量减少三分之二。这些预测都受到限制性条款阻碍,而这也是应该的。采用自动驾驶技术的速度可能会由于监管而减慢。仍然可能需要司机来处理不可预见的问题;如果这些工作需要更多的技术知识,他们甚至可以得到更好的报酬。其他部门的就业可能随着运费的降低而增加。但很有可能在不远的将来,大量的卡车司机会发现自己是多余的。影响是巨大的。

  3. Knowing when to jump is one problem. For people with decades of working life still ahead of them, it is too early to quit but it is also risky to assume that nothing will change. Matthew Robb of Parthenon-EY, a consultancy, thinks that governments should be talking to industry bodies about the potential for mass redundancies and identifying trigger points, such as the installation of sensors on motorways, that might prompt retraining. “This is a boiling-frog problem,” he says. “It is not thought about.”
    3)知道何时跳出现有职业是一个问题。对于还有几十年的工作才退休的人来说,现在还为时过早,但假设什么都不会改变也是有风险的。一家咨询公司Parthenon-EY的Matthew Robb认为,政府应该开始与行业机构讨论大量裁员的可能性,并确定裁员的触发点,例如在高速公路上安装传感器的时候,来促进再培训。 “这是一个温水煮青蛙的问题,”他说。 “还没有人想到。”

  4. For lower-skilled workers of this sort the world of MOOCs, General Assembly and LinkedIn is a million miles away. Around 80% of Coursera’s learners have university degrees. The costs of reskilling, in terms of time and money, are easiest to bear for people who have savings, can control their working hours or work for companies that are committed to upgrading their workforce. And motivation is an issue: the tremendous learning opportunities offered by the internet simply do not appeal to everyone.
    4)对于这类低技能工人,MOOCs,GA和LinkedIn的世界距离万里之遥。约有80%的Coursera学习者有大学学位。就时间和金钱方面来看,再培训的成本对于有储蓄、可以控制他们的工作时间或为致力于提高劳动力的公司工作的人来说是最容易的。而且动机是一个问题:互联网提供的巨大的学习机会并不吸引每个人。

Whosoever hath not

  1. The rewards of retraining are highest for computing skills, but there is no natural pathway from trucker to coder. And even if there were, many of those already in the workforce lack both the confidence and the capability to make the switch. In its Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, the OECD presents a bleak picture of skills levels in 33 member countries (see chart). One in five adults, on average, has poor reading and numeracy skills. One in four has little or no experience of computers. On a measure of problem-solving ability using technology, most adults are at or below the lowest level of proficiency.
    5)再培训的奖励对于电脑技能是最高的,但从卡车司机到程序员并没有天然路径。即使存在,很多已经在工作中的人缺乏信心和能力进行职业转换。在其成人能力国际评估计划中,经合组织提供了一个关于33个成员国技能水平的黯淡的图景。平均而言,五分之一的成年人的阅读和计算能力很差。四分之一的人有很少或没有电脑的经验。在衡量使用技术解决问题能力方面,大多数成年人处于或低于熟练程度的最低水平。

  2. Moreover, learning is most effective when people are able to practise their new skills. Yet many jobs, including lorry-driving, afford little such opportunity, and some of them are being deskilled further. Research by Tom Higgins of Cardiff University suggests that the numeracy requirements for retail assistants and care-home workers in Britain went down between 1997 and 2012. The head of one of the world’s biggest banks worries that a back-office operation in India has disaggregated its work into separate tasks so effectively that employees are no longer able to understand the processes as a whole, let alone make useful suggestions for improving them.
    6)此外,当人们能够练习他们的新技能时,学习是最有效的。然而,许多工作,包括货车驾驶,没有提供这样的机会,其中一些甚至正在进一步降低这些技能。卡迪夫大学的Tom Higgins的研究表明,对于英国零售助理和护理人员的计算能力要求在1997年和2012年之间下降。世界上最大的银行之一的负责人担心,其印度的后台部门把工作分解成独立的任务,如此有效以至于使员工不再能够了解整个过程,更不用说提出有用的建议来改进它们。

  3. So the truckers’ dilemma will be very hard to solve. “It’s difficult when you don’t have a good answer even in an ideal world,” says Jesper Roine, an economist who sat on a Swedish commission to examine the future of work. But as a thought experiment it highlights some of the problems involved in upgrading the stock of low-skilled and mid-skilled workers. Any decent answer will need a co-ordinated effort to bring together individuals, employers and providers of education. That suggests a role for two entities in particular.
    7)所以卡车司机的困境将很难解决。 “如果你在一个理想的世界里没有一个好的答案,这就很困难的,”经济学家Jesper Roine在一个瑞典委员会分析工作的未来时说。但作为一个思想实验,它强调了升级低技能和中等技术工人群体所涉及的一些问题。任何得体的回答都需要协调一致的努力,使个人、雇主和教育提供者聚集在一起。这表明两个实体特别的作用。

  4. One is trade unions. They have an industry-wide view of trends that may not be available to smaller employers. They can also accompany people throughout their working lives, which may become increasingly important in a world of rising self-employment. Denmark’s tripartite system, for example, binds together employers, government and unions. Firms and unions get together to identify skills needs; collective-bargaining agreements enshrine rights to paid leave for training. The country’s famed “flexicurity” system offers unemployed workers a list of 258 vocational-training programmes.
    8)一个是工会。他们会从整个行业的角度分析趋势,这些是小型雇主所做不到的。他们还可以在人们的整个工作生涯中陪伴他们,这可能在一个自由职业增长的世界变得越来越重要。例如,丹麦的三方制度将雇主,政府和工会联系在一起。公司和工会聚在一起确定技能需求;集体谈判协议保护带薪休假去参加培训的权利。该国著名的“灵活安全”制度为失业工人提供了258个职业培训项目的清单。

  5. In Britain a well-regarded programme called UnionLearn uses union representatives both to inform workers about training options and to liaise with employers on workers’ requests for training. Employees seem more likely to discuss shortfalls in basic skills with union representatives than with managers. An analysis by academics at Leeds University Business School shows that between 2001 and 2013 union members in Britain were a third more likely to have received training than non-unionised workers.
    9)在英国,一个名为UnionLearn的知名项目安排工会代表去告知工人他们的培训选择,并与雇主联系确定工人的培训要求。员工似乎更倾向于与工会代表,而不是与管理者,讨论基本技能方面的缺陷。利兹大学商学院学者的分析表明,在2001年和2013年之间,英国的工会成员比非工会工人更有可能受到培训的人数多了三分之一。

  6. The second entity is government. There is much talk about lifelong learning, though few countries are doing much about it. The Nordics fall into this less populated camp. But it is Singapore that can lay claim to the most joined-up approach with its SkillsFuture initiative. Employers in the city-state are asked to spell out the changes, industry by industry, that they expect to happen over the next three to five years, and to identify the skills they will need. Their answers are used to create “industry transformation maps” designed to guide individuals on where to head.
    10)第二实体是政府。有很多关于终身学习的讨论,尽管很少有国家对此有所行动。北欧国家就属于这个人不多的营地。但是,新加坡这个国家可以宣称它有成熟的方法——它发起了SkillsFuture计划。这个城市国家每个行业的雇主被要求具体说明他们期望在未来三到五年内发生的行业变化,以及确定他们将需要的技能。他们的答案被用来创建“行业转型地图”,旨在指导人们走向何方。

lay claim to: If you lay claim to something you do not have, you say that it belongs to you.
joined-up : Journalists sometimes use joined-up to describe plans, ideas, or organizations which seem sensible, sophisticated, and mature, especially when they think that they have been unsophisticated or immature in the past.
spell out: If you spell something out, you explain it in detail or in a very clear way.

  1. Since January 2016 every Singaporean above the age of 25 has been given a S$500 ($345) credit that can be freely used to pay for any training courses provided by 500 approved providers, including universities and MOOCs. Generous subsidies, of up to 90% for Singaporeans aged 40 and over, are available on top of this credit. The programme currently has a budget of S$600m a year, which is due to rise to S$1 billion within three years. According to Ng Cher Pong, SkillsFuture’s chief executive, the returns on that spending matter less than changing the mindset around continuous reskilling.
    11)自2016年1月起,每位25岁以上的新加坡人都已经获得500新元(345美元)的信贷,可以自由地用于支付由500家获批准的培训提供者(包括大学和MOOC)提供的任何培训课程。对于90%的40岁及以上的新加坡人,除了这份信贷之外,还有慷慨的补贴。该计划目前的预算为每年6亿新元,将在三年内增加到10亿新元。根据SkillsFuture首席执行官Ng Cher Pong的说法,这种支出的回报不如改变对持续重新学习新技能的心态带来的回报。

on top of: in addition to

  1. Some programmes cater to the needs of those who lack basic skills. Tripartite agreements between unions, employers and government lay out career and skills ladders for those who are trapped in low-wage occupations. Professional-conversion programmes offer subsidised training to people switching to new careers in areas such as health care.
    12)一些方案满足那些缺乏基本技能的人的需要。工会,雇主和政府之间的三方协议为那些被困于低工资职业的人安排职业和技能阶梯。职业转换计划为转向诸如医疗保健领域等新职业的人提供带补贴的培训。

  2. Given Singapore’s size and political system, this approach is not easily replicated in many other countries, but lessons can still be drawn. It makes sense for employers, particularly smaller ones, to club together to signal their skills needs to the workforce at large. Individual learning accounts have a somewhat chequered history—fraudulent training providers helped scupper a British experiment in the early 2000s—but if well designed, they can offer workers educational opportunities without being overly prescriptive.
    13)鉴于新加坡的规模和政治制度,许多其他国家并不容易复制这种方法,但仍然可以学习其经验。对于雇主,特别是较小的雇主来说,一起凑钱将他们的技能需求大致告知劳动者是有意义的。个人学习客户有一些波折的历史——欺诈的培训提供者破坏了英国在21世纪初的教育实验,但如果设计良好,他们可以提供工人的教育机会,而不过于古板

club together: If people club together to do something, they all give money towards the cost of it. e.g. For my thirtieth birthday, my friends clubbed together and bought me a watch.
chequered: If a person or organization has had a chequered career or history, they have had a varied past with both good and bad periods.

Any fool can know

  1. In June 2016, this newspaper surveyed the realm of artificial intelligence and the adjustments it would require workers to make as jobs changed. “That will mean making education and training flexible enough to teach new skills quickly and efficiently,” we concluded. “It will require a greater emphasis on lifelong learning and on-the-job training, and wider use of online learning and video-game-style simulation.”
    14)2016年6月,本报纸(经济学人把自己定位为报纸)调查了人工智能的领域,以及需要工作人员随着工作变化而作出的调整。 “这意味着让教育和培训具有足够的灵活性能够快速有效地教授新技能,”我们总结说。 “这将需要更加强调终身学习和在职培训,以及更广泛地使用在线学习和视频游戏风格的模拟方式。”

  2. The uncertainties around the pace and extent of technological change are enormous. Some fear a future of mass unemployment. Others are sanguine that people will have time to adapt. Companies have to want to adopt new technologies, after all, and regulators may impede their take-up. What is not in doubt is the need for new and more efficient ways to develop and add workplace skills.
    15)技术变革的速度和程度的不确定性是巨大的。有些人担心大规模失业的未来。其他人对于人们将有时间适应是乐观的。毕竟,公司不得不采用新技术,而监管机构可能阻碍接受率。毫无疑问的是,需要新的和更有效的方法来发展和增加工作技能。

  3. The faint outlines of a new ecosystem for connecting employment and education are becoming discernible. Employers are putting greater emphasis on adaptability, curiosity and learning as desirable attributes for employees. They are working with universities and alternative providers to create and improve their own supply of talent. Shorter courses, lower costs and online delivery are making it easier for people to combine work and training. New credentials are being created to signal skills.
    16)连接就业和教育的新生态系统的模糊轮廓正在变得清晰。雇主更加强调适应性、好奇心和爱学习作为员工的理想属性。他们正在与大学和可替代它们的教育提供者合作,创造和提高自己的人才供应。更短的课程,更低的成本和在线交付使人们更容易结合工作和培训。新的证书正在被创造出来以代表所具备的技能。

  4. At the same time, new technologies should make learning more effective as well as more necessary. Virtual and augmented reality could radically improve professional training. Big data offer the chance for more personalised education. Platforms make it easier to connect people of differing levels of knowledge, allowing peer-to-peer teaching and mentoring. “Education is becoming flexible, modular, accessible and affordable,” says Simon Nelson, the boss of FutureLearn, the Open University MOOC.
    17)同时,新技术应该使学习更有效,更有必要。虚拟和增强现实可以彻底改善职业培训。大数据提供了更多个性化教育的机会。平台使得连接不同知识水平的人更容易,允许同伴教学和指导。开放大学MOOC FutureLearn的老板Simon Nelson说:“教育正在变得灵活,模块化,易于使用和负担得起。”

  5. But for now this nascent ecosystem is disproportionately likely to benefit those who least need help. It concentrates on advanced technological skills, which offer the clearest returns and are relatively easy to measure. And it assumes that people have the money, time, motivation and basic skills to retrain.
    18)但是现在这个新生态系统不成比例地有利于最不需要帮助的人。它专注于先进的技术技能,提供最清晰的回报,并且相对容易测量。它假设人们有金钱、时间、动机和基本技能来训练。

  6. Thanks to examples like Singapore’s, it is possible to imagine ways in which continuous education can be made more accessible and affordable for the mass of citizens. But it is as easy—indeed, easier—to imagine a future in which the emerging infrastructure of lifelong learning reinforces existing advantages. Far from alleviating the impact of technological upheaval, that would risk exacerbating inequality and the social and economic tensions it brings in its wake.
    19)由于像新加坡这样的例子,我们有可能想象使大众更容易获得和负担得起持续教育的方式。但是,也很容易——确实更容易——想象未来新出现的终身学习设施加强了现有的优势。远不能减轻技术剧变的影响,这将有加剧不平等及其带来的社会和经济紧张的风险。
    This article appeared in the Special report section of the print edition under the headline “The elephant in the truck”

原文出处:经济学人杂志

译者:安东Anton

本译文仅供个人研习、欣赏语言之用,谢绝任何转载及用于任何商业用途。本译文所涉法律后果均由本人承担。本人同意简书平台在接获有关著作权人的通知后,删除文章。

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