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KDI School hears the WDR 2019: The Changing Nature of Work

20 Mar, 2019 KDIS News Center 1,729

The KDI School of Public Policy and Management, in cooperation with the World Bank, hosted the World Development Report (WDR) 2019: The Changing Nature of Work Flagship Workshop on February 28th at KDI Auditorium, Sejong City, Korea. The workshop was divided into three sessions: Introduction to the WDR 2019, Introduction to the WDR 2019 Massive Online Open Course (MOOC), and a Panel Discussion: Exploring Ways Forward and Learning from the Korean Experience.


In his opening remarks, Jong-Il You, Dean of KDI School, congratulated the World Bank for successfully coming up with the World Development Report 2019 which embarked on a very relevant topic in the present age. He said that he is curious to know how the changes affect the work of the people, considering that Korea ranked second in the most productive new generation of workers as presented in the Human Capital Index 2018. He emphasized that capabilities of the workers are as important as their productivity and said he is proud to have KDI School take part in improving these capabilities in many ways which include hosting this event.

During the morning session, Federica Saliola, Lead Economist and WDR 2019 Director, presented the highlights of the WDR 2019. She started off with a story on how the cover of the report was decided upon. “The Making of A Fresco Showing the Building of A City” by a prominent Mexican painter, Diego Rivera was chosen instead of paintings showing off robots that would give a negative connotation of the future nature of work – jobless. This is not what the WDR 2019 wants to imply, and instead wants to raise awareness on how technology can be an advantage to the workplace.

She focused on the changing nature of work and firms as well as the three areas for government policy actions. “The future is not negative but it is challenging,” Saliola said. The WDR 2019 aimed to show that technological progress can expand jobs. That instead of automation and fewer job opportunities for human, technology offers innovation and more jobs of a different nature. This means that there are new jobs created in the technology sector and that people and companies should take advantage of it.

Saliola also expounded on the three areas that the government should address. These are human capital and learning, social protection and labor policies, and revenue mobilization. According to Saliola, re-adjustment of human capital is a matter of life-long learning. There must be transferable skills, life-long learning and platforms for innovation. This improvement in human capital must be coupled with social protection through the passage of laws and policies protecting the labor force.

These actions can only be achieved through adequate revenue to support these government actions. As such, ways on how to maximize revenue collection from newly created job opportunities and companies should be looked into. Her presentation was followed by a short yet fruitful discussion with some KDI students through the moderation of Wonhyuk Lim, Associate Dean of Development Research and International Cooperation, KDI School.

Shortly after, Shiela Jagannathan, Lead Learning Specialist of the World Bank, gave a brief demonstration of the WDR 2019 MOOC through a video call. The MOOC provides free online courses on various topics. It is facilitated online by 14 lecturers who are experts in different fields of study. It has interactive exercises and can be translated to several languages to make it more accessible to people. Jagannathan ended her session saying that, “this is not just about learning. This is about changing the world for the better.”

For the afternoon session, a panel discussion on the topic “Exploring Ways Forward and Learning from the Korean Experience” was moderated by Joonghae Suh, Executive Director of the Economic Information and Education Center. Three Korean experts in different areas of research were invited to share the developments and best practices in the Korean-setting of learning and the workplace. These are Seongmin Hong, Senior Research Fellow of Science and Technology Policy institute; ChangKyun Chae, Senior Research Fellow of Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training; and Ilhan Baee, Research Professor of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. The three researchers highlighted the gap between the current education provided by universities and the jobs being offered by companies, as a very crucial issue that should be addressed in relation to the fast changing nature of work.

A digital copy of the WDR 2019 can be downloaded through its official website:

By Isabella Angelica Asuncion MILLANES (2019 MPM, Philippines)