In the post-pandemic world, skills are an important component of advanced educational programs. And education for skilling is a popular term among the stakeholders. Presently, it is one of the most effective ways of addressing skills gap and preparing our youngsters for a competitive world. In other words, we can also say that skills acquisition is the most credible way to help students develop the competencies required to thrive in this complex world.
Most of us believe that the history of skill education in India dates back to full-fledged vocational courses. However, in the present times, 21st century skills inculcation is one of the primary goals of school education. And the process starts right from the initial stages of formal education.
Be ready to dive into the intrinsic details of this highly-relevant topic. Let’s start right away!
What is Skills Development?
The dictionary definition of skills explains the term as the ability to utilize one’s knowledge for execution. Skills development aims at building marketable skills in students. This helps them to develop the core competencies which in turn makes them more employable for the job market.
In the present times, skills are the biggest pre-requisite for job-seekers. In fact, the need for inculcating and honing skills is a need of the hour not just in India. But also across the entire world.
Let’s look at this need from a global perspective before we get down to the Indian scenario.
The Need for Skill Development
The dynamic world around us has transformed at a fast speed after the pandemic. With the growing dominance of technology, communication, and globalization, the global job markets have seen a major change in the nature and scope of work (jobs/employment). All in all, this means that 21st century skills for students are a passport to a successful career pathway in the upcoming years.
As per the World Bank, the 21st century labor market needs individuals with a comprehensive skill set including:
- Socio-Emotional– Teamwork, self-control, leadership, and grit.
- Cognitive– Problem-solving, reasoning, creativity, critical thinking, adaptability, etc.
- Digital– To understand and create information securely.
- Technical– The mastery of technology.
The world is acknowledging education skill. However, it is unfortunate that the working population of many countries still does not meet these required standards.
<750 million people over the age of 15 years still do not meet the minimum literacy and numeracy levels.>
The Need for Skill Development in India
As per a leading journal, every year almost 28 million youth gets added to India’s workforce. Despite a huge segment of the young population, our country still battles with a massive rate of unemployment. In the year 2021, India’s unemployment rate was 5.98%.
The chart below shows these figures between 2017-21.
In December 2022, the total employability rate was 8.3%. While the same was 7.8% as of March’23. There is a close relationship between one’s skillsets and employability. And most traditional/online schools acknowledge the importance of skill development for students in their high-quality educational designs.
Here’s some more factual information that proves why education for skilling is imperative for our students.
The Relationship Between Skillsets and Employability
This highly-skill driven world demands individuals who possess the essential competencies and have a result-oriented approach.
Do you know that the reasons of unemployment in India go beyond issues like education and poverty?
This crisis also stems from a poor employability rate. This means that organizations do not find the prospective candidates skilled enough to give them jobs/roles. Going by figures, 39% of the employers in 2019 said that they faced a major skill shortage in candidates. And this left vacancies in their organizations despite a number of prospective candidates.
Clearly, 21st century skills in education can help us to bridge these gaps. In fact, it can also make our students acquire soft skills like adaptability and teamwork.
A survey shows that Indian youth lack future-ready skillsets.
- 53% of the survey respondents accepted that they did not find relevant jobs.
- 60% of them were not satisfied with their earnings after their degree completion.
- 75% of these respondents felt that training in futuristic skills can help them in reaching greater heights of professional success.
Employability of Indian Youth
According to the India Skills Report, the employability of Indian youth is around 50.3% in 2023.
While this figure looks disappointing, it still shows some positive signs of improvement. For example, the overall percentage of employable women in 2023 increased up to 52.8%. And 89% of graduates were reportedly open for internship opportunities in the same report.
By far, we are able to connect the dots and understand why our Indian policymakers are keen on incorporating 21st century skills and life skills education. Let’s move on and explore this aspect in more detail.
What is the Importance of Skill Development in Education?
In the present times, education for skilling has multiple benefits for students and it holds importance for them in the following ways:
Our students need life skills education over and above regular academic success. We have already seen that there is a direct connection between skill-based education and one’s future prospects. And life skills add great value to a student’s life by empowering him/her with the qualities that are essential to stand out in this both personal and professional life.
Promotes Holistic Development
In this post-pandemic world, education is a tool to drive purpose and simplifies real-world challenges. Skill development in education supports a student’s holistic development in many ways. In this way, it helps students to identify their individual strengths and weaknesses. And also builds the capacity to apply their gained knowledge to real-life situations. Skill development has numerous advantages. And one prominent one is that it develops critical thinking capacity, and makes an individual capable of problem-solving.
All in all, holistic development promoted through skill-based learning supports the development of a well-rounded personality. And such students are fully capable of thinking divergently, applying knowledge, and contributing to society at large.
Hones Leadership Skills
The next advantage that proves the importance of skill development in education is the support given to develop leadership qualities. In the words of a leading stakeholder, skill education or skill-based education creates impeccable opportunities to build leadership qualities in students. It helps students to the art of active listening, teaches them how to be organized, and inspires them to be good team players.
Ways to Integrate 21st Century Skills in Education
Elements of NPE 2020
The recent National Policy of Education 2020 envisions an educational ecosystem that can prepare our students for the future of the global job market. NPE 2020 preempts a major takeover of unskilled jobs by artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, etc. The policy suggests building multidisciplinary abilities in students through the integration of computer science, mathematics, and data science in education.
On the lines of this futuristic vision, top traditional/online schools have already introduced courses/subjects like Computer Education and Environmental Education, etc. to develop digital skillsets and design thinking abilities in students. In the upcoming years, our system will see more of these changes to promote education for skilling.
Integrating ICT in School Education
Another effective way to integrate skill-based learning into school education is through the use of Information and Communication Technology. Most of us already know that the biggest advantage of online learning is the power to tailor a student’s education as per his/her unique needs. This helps in building skills in students as per their personality types. And eventually, supports them in following their aptitude as per their preferences. ICT creates a perfect design that promotes education for skilling. Because it helps students to enjoy greater autonomy. And nurtures their individual strengths appropriately.
Another effective way of incorporating 21st century skills in education is to revolutionize our classrooms. And make them learner-centric. This means that our curriculum planning, modules, resources, repositories, and training opportunities (at the higher levels) must focus on relevant education that promotes experiential learning. An interesting write-up in a journal segregates relevant learning with the following weightage:
- 10% delivery in the classrooms.
- 70% through industry-focused situations.
- 20% by collaborating with peers.
Employability is a significant factor that drives our nation’s growth. In fact, education for skilling offers AN ULTIMATE SOLUTION to help our younger generations contribute as productive members of the global village. Let’s empower our students with futuristic skills. And very soon we will see the magic of the world’s youngest workforce unfold in many fascinating ways!
Thanks for Reading!
Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the skills development?
Skill development help in bridging skills gaps. And it also helps an individual to learn new skills.
- What is the importance of skill development in education?
Broadly education skills and skill development helps in building critical thinking, problem-solving, and transferable soft skills for workplace success.
- Which are the 21st century skills for students?
Prominent skills of 21st-century are:
- Critical thinking
- Digital literacy
- Adaptability etc.
- What is the importance of skill development for students?
For students, skills help in developing a scientific temperament and high-order thinking capabilities. This empowers students to be independent and resilient across the varied stages of life.
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