Vignette 1 | The right to regulate one’s own career and all related data

Christopher J. Beukes

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Rather than thinking of a career as a lifelong series of developmental stages, as expected from the work of 20th century developmental psychologists such as Daniel Levinson and Donald Super, Hall (1996) suggests that the 21st century career should be viewed as a series of short learning stages. Citizens must make frequent changes and adjustments, while forming goals and implementing plans in the vocational aspects of their lives (Chen, 2004). Similarly, Greenhaus (2001) states that a career in the 21st century is not measured by a citizen's chronological age or life stages but by continuous learning changes. In essence, for a citizen to make informed learning decisions, they need access to all past and present, formal and informal learning experiences to maximise their potential success. Similarly, potential education and training opportunities should be made available to each citizen. This information should be made available in an integrated and interoperable manner.

The continuous need to audit and align one's skills to manage one’s own career is depicted in Beukes’ (2009) model of self-regulatory employability. This audit and alignment process cannot be effective if citizens have only limited access to their records of formal and informal education and training. A further limitation is the potential lack of information of education and training opportunities available to citizens. Education and training data and information must be perpetually available to each citizen in order for them to regulate their careers. Each citizen’s data and information for regulating their own careers should be seen as confidential. An ethical and responsible entity needs to protect this data and ensure that all formal and informal learning records and relevant opportunities are available on a continuous basis.

The right to regulate one’s own career and all related data is enshrined in the South African Constitution. Section 22 of the Constitution declares that ‘every citizen has the right to choose their trade, occupation or profession freely’. Education and training is the foundation of all trades, occupations and professions. As such, the right to choose one’s education and training forms the basis of this right. This right, coupled with the right to privacy and not to have one’s property searched (Section 14 of the Constitution) sets a legal constitutional case for self-sovereign data control. Where a citizen's education and training data is their own property, this should be accessible but strictly confidential to citizens, unless required by law. The PSET CLOUD has the potential to ensure that each citizen’s education and training data is interoperable from multiple sources and confidentially accessible to citizens. Citizens can then decide what education and training data they would like to share for any specific purpose. If education and training data is not managed through ethical and responsible entities, there is a risk that it could be sold for profit, or used through social engineering techniques to commit fraud technologically or politically.

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