Focus on Innovation at the Educational Research Institute

Digital badges in the Open Badges format, working with IBM in the P-TECH project and the ongoing development of the Integrated Qualifications System. IBE has not been idle and is backing the latest solutions in innovative education and responsible business.

2021 is a special year in Poland. The situation with the COVID-19 pandemic has caused enormous changes in almost all areas of life. The labour market is changing very quickly, influenced by many factors - progressing automation, digitalization, changes in consumer habits. This is also reflected in the research.

A joint report by the educational firm Pearson, experts from Oxford Martin School and Nesta Foundation (“Future of Skills. Employment in 2030”), indicates that only 10% of people currently work in an occupation that will be in demand in coming years. In contrast, 70% will continue to work in their current occupations, but these will change.

The report also indicates future sectors in the context of the next decades. According to the authors, intensifying trends and social determinants must be taken into account. These include the concept of sustainable development, new technologies, globalization and changes that will lead to investments in new industries. So how to take advantage of the trends and adapt them to the difficult circumstances in which we have come to live?

The IQS, an innovative solution for Poles

The tool that in the future will help with the rapid changes in the labour market is the Integrated Qualifications System, developed by the Educational Research Institute. “The system, based on qualifications frameworks, is a perfect response to the labour market need for developing and ensuring the appropriate quality of qualifications for workers in a modern economy,” explains Ireneusz Baranowski, IBE Deputy Director for the IQS.

“The Integrated Qualifications System makes the recruitment process much easier for employers and reduces its costs because of the possibility of easily recognizing a potential employee’s actual skills. The ‘heart’ of the system is the Integrated Qualifications Register, which collects information on all qualifications included in the IQS and provides every Pole access to them,” adds Baranowski. This enables any person who wants to check their skills to do so and as a result, apply to have those skills certified.

IBE and new technologies, or Badge+ in Poland

Let’s go for a moment to the near future. A simple way of confirming skills, individual career paths and attractive digital diplomas that can be sent with one click, and all this in the format of a unique digital symbol. This is what the Educational Research Institute is working on.

In the Badge+ system, everyone will be able to create their own e-portfolio, with “uploaded” diplomas, to which they will add a self-presentation video, a bio, and possibly a virtual cover letter. In this way, with a single link, it will be possible to use new technologies to quickly send a potential employer information about what you are able to do.

“This is our contribution to developing a society of the future and introducing the ‘digitalization of educational credits and professional achievements’ to every Polish employee. The application, which is being developed by IBE, will have two versions: a web-based database for creating, issuing and storing digital badges in the Open Badges 2.0 format, and a mobile application for individual users, enabling them to quickly share their badges. In the future, this should make job searches more efficient on the one hand, and on the other hand, facilitate the work of HR departments and managers,” explains Michał Nowakowski, IQS4 Leader at the Educational Research Institute.

At any rate, using new technologies in the Institute’s projects has already been recognized in the Polish market. During the Intelligent Development Forum, which took place in Toruń this year on September 26-29, prestigious awards were granted. IBE was granted a 2021 Polish Innovative Development Award for its work on developing the IQS, supporting innovation and the competitiveness of the economy, as well as actively influencing intelligent and sustainable development.

Working together with IBM at IBE

Supporting the qualifications of the future in innovative sectors is precisely one of the main aims of the Institute. Particularly noteworthy is the IQS4 project, which promotes activities in the field of electromobility, IT, offshore wind energy, programming industrial robots and drones. IBE has also decided to intensify its activities with IBM within the global P-TECH program, established to provide young people with support in developing the scientific, technical and professional skills needed in 21st century workplaces.

The P-TECH program was initiated in the United States by IBM. Currently, it brings together over 150,000 students, teachers, parents and mentors in 28 countries around the world. P-TECH, or “Pathways to Technology”, is a multilateral initiative in innovative education. Students simultaneously attend high school classes and engage with experts from a given industry in preparing for their future careers. Upon graduating, they are immediately ready to continue their education at universities or enter careers in computer science, health care, manufacturing and other competitive fields. In Poland, the P-TECH programme is supported by the Educational Research Institute.

Because the idea of linking the world of modern education with a job market based on innovative technologies is exactly what IBE wants to pursue.