APRU Partners to Close the Digital Skills Gap at APEC

APRU Partners to Close the Digital Skills Gap at APEC

July 20, 2019

APRU members participated in the APEC Closing the Digital Skills Gap Forum, held in Singapore in mid-July.

The forum gathered representatives from 16 APEC economies to explore policy options that can strengthen digital skills and the digital economy, with Project DARE taking central stage.

APRU members participating in the forum were Bernard Tan, Senior Vice Provost of the National University of Singapore; Fidel Nemazo, Vice Chancellor for Research and Development of the University of Philippines (UP); Eugene Rex Jalao, Associate Professor of University of the Philippines; and Kar Yan Tam, Dean of the School of Business and Management of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).

“With the imminent need to facilitate the transition of workforce in the age of disruption, Project DARE provides a tripartite platform for governments, academia and business across the APEC economies to discuss human capital development in data science and analytics,” said Kar Yan Tam. “This platform connects all of us closely together to manage the transformation wisely,” he added.

Project DARE (abbreviation of data analytics raising employment) is an APEC initiative seeking to facilitate development of a data science and analytics (DSA)-enabled workforce across the APEC region to address the skills shortage in DSA. The Closing the Digital Skills Gap survey launched by the forum and prepared by Wiley, an education and professional training solutions provider, showed that 75 per cent of respondents – comprised of employers, government officials, and academics – perceive the existence of a significant skills mismatch.

At the forum, participants finalized a roadmap to support and scale-up skills development and reskilling programs carried out by employers, governments, and educational institutions across APEC. Tam explained how HKUST has leveraged the Recommended APEC Data Science & Analytics Competencies to inform curriculum in data science and technology, including a full undergraduate degree track.

Fellow APRU member Jalao highlighted Philippine projects in high-impact investments in digital upskilling and reskilling, including an ambitious pilot model to train 30,000 workers over three years led by the Analytics Association of the Philippines (AAP). Indeed, the pilot project has been one of the first models to implement the Recommended APEC Data Science & Analytics Competencies.

The Project DARE timeline for 2018 entailed more than 60 participants sharing models how to bridge the digital skills gap, as well as the development of case studies on Recommended APEC Data and Science & Analytics (DSA) Competencies. On the 2019 timeline are the presentation, finalization and beginning implementation of a collective version and roadmap in APEC to support efforts to upskill and reskill at scale. Implementation of the roadmap is envisioned for the 2020-2025 period.

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