The future of the world is heavily dependent upon countries with the poorest education systems! Here’s why!

by | Oct 17, 2019 | Predictions

Futurist Speaker Thomas Frey Explains Elon Musk Statement About Future Population Collapse

“The biggest problem the world will face is population collapse!” – Elon Musk

Pay close attention to these six countries: Nigeria, Congo, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Angola, and Pakistan. The future of our planet is happening inside these countries.

In his August 12th appearance at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai, Elon Musk emphatically stated, “I think the biggest problem the world will face in 20 years is population collapse. Collapse, I want to emphasize this. The biggest issue in 20 years will be population collapse—not explosion, collapse.”

Well, population collapse is not happening inside these six countries. In fact, just the opposite.

While global fertility rates are plummeting, half of the world’s future population is being born in these countries.

Africa is projected to overtake Asia in births by 2060, if not sooner.

If current birth rate trends continue, over 90 countries will experience declining populations before the end of this century, and the median age of people on planet earth will change from 31 today to over 42 by 2100.

According to Pew Research, these six countries are projected to account for more than half of the world’s population growth through the end of this century, and five are in Africa – Nigeria, Congo, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Angola, and one non-African country, Pakistan.

At the same time, very little money is being invested in educating this future half of the planet.

Futurist Speaker Thomas Frey Map Of All Countries With Birth Rates

All of the countries in blue have super low birth rates!

Shifting Global Demographics

Demographics is a tricky subject, especially when it comes to projecting out over the next 80-100 years. But children born today will likely live more than 100 years, and birthrates are driven more by culture than they are by other trends.

It is the children and grandchildren of today’s young people that will determine the fate of our world, and those kids are being born primarily in Africa and parts of Asia.

India is projected to surpass China as the world’s most populous country in 2027.

According to the UN’s latest study, by 2100 the counties with the most people in the world will be:

  1. India – 1,450,000
  2. China – 1,065,000
  3. Nigeria – 733,000
  4. U.S. – 434,000
  5. Pakistan – 403,000
  6. Congo – 362,000
  7. Indonesia – 321,000
  8. Ethiopia – 294,000
  9. Tanzania – 286,000
  10. Egypt – 225,000

In the UN report, by 2100, the world’s population is projected to reach approximately 10.9 billion, with annual growth of less than 0.1% – a steep decline from the current rate. But many now doubt whether the global population will exceed 9 billion. More on this below.

The global fertility rate is expected to drop to 1.9 births per woman by 2100, down from 2.5 today, and well below the replacement rate of 2.1.

Futurist Speaker Thomas Frey Countries With Highest Population Growth And Poorest Education System

Kisokwe Primary School in Tanzania is home to 800 primary students.

The Poorest of Poor Education

According to the UN, roughly 69 million new teachers must be recruited and trained in order to achieve universal primary and secondary education standards established by UNESCO (UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

More specifically, they’ll need to recruit 24.4 million primary school teachers, and 44.4 million secondary school teachers, to achieve the standards they’ve established.

Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are the regions most affected by this worldwide teacher shortage. In these countries, less than three-quarters of teachers are trained to national standards.

In Africa, where they have the fastest growing school-age population, 20% of all children do not attend any school whatsoever, according to UNESCO research.

South Asia faces the second largest teacher shortage, where an additional 15 million primary grade teachers and 11 million secondary level teachers will be needed by 2030.

Adult literacy rates in these six counties are as follows:

  • Nigeria – 51%
  • Congo – 77%
  • Tanzania – 78%
  • Ethiopia – 39%
  • Angola – 66%
  • Pakistan – 57%

There are many reasons for poor education. Here are a few more:

Lack of Funding – Only 20% of financial aid for education goes to low-income countries, according to the Global Partnership for Education.

Lack of Classrooms

Children in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa are often squeezed into overcrowded classrooms, classrooms that are falling apart, or no classrooms at all – learning outside. They also lack textbooks, school supplies, and many other tools they will need to become successful. In Malawi, for example, there are an average of 130 children per classroom in first grade.<

Lack of Textbooks

Outdated and worn-out textbooks are often shared by six or more students in many parts of the world. In Tanzania, for example, only 3.5% of all sixth grade students had their own reading textbook.


Gender is one of the biggest reasons why children are denied an education. Despite recent advances in female education, a generation of young women has been left behind. Over 130 million girls around the world are not currently enrolled in school. One in 3 girls in the developing world marries before the age of 18, and typically leaves school when they do.


When it comes to warring tribes or regional conflicts, most often local education systems are the first thing to fall apart. Children exposed to violence are far more at risk for becoming under-achievers and for dropping out of school. The impact of conflict cannot be overstated. Nearly 250 million children are living in countries affected by warlords, violence, and regional conflicts.


For many children, walking three hours in each direction is not uncommon in many parts of the world.


The impact of hunger on education is seriously underreported. It’s estimated that roughly 155 million children under the age of five have become intellectually stunted even before entering school.


Despite the fact that education is a universal human right, being denied access to school is common for the world’s 150 million children with disabilities. In some of the world’s poorest countries, up to 95% of children with disabilities are left out of school.

Futurist Speaker Thomas Frey Reasons For Poor Education In Poor Countries

Pockets of excellence! This is the Oshwal college computer lab in Kenya.

Final Thoughts

Poor countries do not need to have “poor education”.

For the first time in modern history, the world’s population is expected to virtually stop growing before the end of this century, due in large part to falling global fertility rates.

The U.S. Census Bureau numbers show the world population growth rate peaked over 40 years ago in 1963 and has been trending downward ever since.

Counter to what the UN is estimating, demographers at the U.S. Census Bureau predict that absolute human population will peak at 9 billion by 2070 and then diminish. This prediction of racing to 9 billion, once forecast to occur 1950, keeps getting throttled back, and may indeed never happen.

Long before 2070, many nations will shrink in absolute size. At the same time, the average age of the world’s citizens will shoot up dramatically. For example Mexico is aging 5 times faster than the United States. By aggressively addressing the dangers of overpopulation, the world may have pushed on the brakes a bit too hard. Instead, the big new problem will be an aging and declining population.

Before giving in to the temptation of thinking fewer is better, think again. Growth is an economic driver. A world with fewer people has fewer people buying new homes, new clothing, and meals in a restaurant. A planet with a shrinking population will suffer from entirely new kinds of problems, such as “ghost town syndrome,” leading to tired and often sickly economies.

With birth rates declining and seniors shifting to less-arduous work, many nations will begin experiencing worrisome talent shortages.

Coupled with the other challenges associated with an aging, shrinking society, the elderly are less inclined to innovate, learn new technical skills, or take the same kind of risks as their younger counterparts. If these tendencies hold, a graying society will be less equipped to meet the challenges ahead in the coming age of empty playgrounds.

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The future of the world is heavily dependent upon countries with the poorest education systems! Here’s why!

by | Oct 17, 2019 | Predictions

I was thoroughly intrigued when I found out the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado was offering a degree in asteroid mining.

Yes, the idea of extracting water, oxygen, minerals, and metals from an asteroid sounds like science fiction to most people, but it’s not that far away.  In fact, Colorado School of Mines’ newly launched “Space Resources” program will help people get in on the ground floor.

After thinking about the proactive nature of this approach, it became abundantly clear how backward thinking most colleges have become.

When colleges decide on a new degree program, they must first recruit instructors, create a new curriculum, and attract students. As a result, the talent churned out of these newly minted programs is the product of a 6-7 year pipeline.

For this reason, anticipatory-thinking institutions really need to be setting their sights on what business and industries will need 7-10 years from now.

The Risk-Averse Nature of Education

When Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen released his best-selling book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, his core message that disruptive change is the path to success, was only partially embraced by higher education.

While many were experimenting with MOOCs and smart whiteboards, changes in the subject matter of their courses still evolved at the traditional pace of discovery.

This is not to say colleges are not innovative. Rather, the demands of today’s emerging tech environment are forcing business and industries to shift into an entirely new gear. And that most definitely includes our academic institutions.

From a management perspective, it’s far easier to oversee a contained system where all variables are constrained. But during times of change, we tend to give far more power to the “unleashers,” who are determined to test the status quo and release ideas and trial balloons to see what works.

For this reason, managers and creatives often find themselves on opposing sides, and the winners of these warring factions often determine what we as consumers see as the resulting ripples of change.

Offering Pilot Programs

When Facebook bought Oculus Rift in March 2014 for $2 billion, the job boards went crazy, as there was an instant uptick in the demand for VR designers, engineers, and experience creators. But no one was teaching VR, and certainly not the Oculus Rift version of it.

Colleges have a long history of being blindsided by new technologies:

  • When eBay launched, no one was teaching ecommerce strategies
  • When Myspace launched, no one was teaching social networking
  • When Google launched, no one was teaching online search engine strategies
  • When Uber launched, no one was teaching sharing economy business models
  • When Apple first opened their App Store, no one was teaching smart phone app design
  • When Amazon first allowed online storefronts, no one was teaching the Amazon business model
  • When YouTube first offered ways to monetize videos, no one was teaching it

Since most academic institutions are only willing to put their name on programs with long-term viability, the endorsement of half-baked agendas does not come easy. However, that is exactly what needs to be done.

Colleges can no longer afford to remain comfortably behind the curve.

52 Future College Degrees

As a way of priming your thinking on this matter, here are 52 future degrees that forward-thinking colleges could start offering today:

  1. Space Exploration – space tourism planning and management
  2. Space Exploration – planetary colony design and operation
  3.  Space Exploration – next generation space infrastructure
  4. Space Exploration – advanced cosmology and non-earth human habitats
  5. Bioengineering with CRISPR – policy and procedural strategies
  6. Bioengineering with CRISPR – advanced genetic engineering systems
  7. Bioengineering with CRISPR – operational implementations and system engineering
  8. Bioengineering with CRISPR – ethical regulation and oversight
  9. Smart City – autonomous traffic integration
  10. Smart City – mixed reality modeling
  11. Smart City – autonomous construction integration
  12. Smart City – next generation municipal planning and strategy
  13. Autonomous Agriculture – robotic systems
  14. Autonomous Agriculture – drone systems
  15. Autonomous Agriculture – supply chain management
  16. Autonomous Agriculture – systems theory and integration
  17. Swarmbot – design, theory, and management
  18. Swarmbot – system engineering and oversight
  19. Swarmbot – municipal system design
  20. Swarmbot – law enforcement and advanced criminology systems
  21. Cryptocurrency – digital coin economics
  22. Cryptocurrency – crypto-banking system design
  23. Cryptocurrency – regulatory systems and oversight
  24. Cryptocurrency – forensic accounting strategies
  25. Blockchain – design, systems, and applications
  26. Blockchain – blockchain for biological systems
  27. Blockchain – large-scale integration structures
  28. Blockchain – municipal system design strategies
  29. Global Systems – system planning, architecture, and design
  30. Global Systems – large-scale integration strategies
  31. Global Systems – operational systems checks and balance
  32. Global Systems – governmental systems in a borderless digital world
  33. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle - drone film making
  34. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle – command center operations
  35. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle – municipal modeling and planning systems
  36. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle – emergency response systems
  37. Mixed Reality - experiential retail
  38. Mixed Reality – three-dimensional storytelling
  39. Mixed Reality – game design
  40. Mixed Reality – therapeutic systems and design
  41. Advanced Reproductive Systems – designer baby strategies, planning, and ethics
  42. Advanced Reproductive Systems – surrogate parenting policy and approaches
  43. Advanced Reproductive Systems – organic nano structures
  44. Advanced Reproductive Systems – clone engineering and advanced processes
  45. Artificial Intelligence – data management in an AI environment
  46. Artificial Intelligence – advanced human-AI integration
  47. Artificial Intelligence – streaming AI data services
  48. Artificial Intelligence – advanced marketing with AI
  49. Quantum Computing – data strategies in a quantum-connected world
  50. Quantum Computing – quantum-level encryption and security
  51. Quantum Computing – quantum computing implementation strategies
  52. Quantum Computing – AI-quantum system integration

Final Thought

More so than any time in history, we have a clear view of next generation technologies. Naturally, we’re still a long way from 100% clarity, but for most of the technologies listed above, the shifting tectonic plates of change can be felt around the world.

Without taking decisive action, colleges run the risk of being circumvented by new types of training systems that can meet market demands in a fraction of the time it takes traditional academia to react.

The ideas I’ve listed are a tiny fraction of what’s possible when it comes to emerging tech degrees. Should colleges stick their neck out like Colorado School of Mines and offer degrees that may not be immediately useful? Adding to that question, how many college degrees are immediately useful today?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

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