How critical is the need for 21st Century Skills in the school curriculum to equip students for real-world challenges?
Transforming Education for the Rapidly-Changing Digital World
The digitally advanced world has rendered over 94 per cent of the engineering students unfit for hiring. Only about 5 per cent of the country’s workforce is said to have had formal skill training, while around 31 million people are unemployed. It is thus evident that there is a widening gap between the course structure in the school and the life skills needed for the real world.
With the education system, still focused on exam survival, and plagued with disconnected facts and teaching disparate, there is little or no scope for developing non-academic competencies required for the 21st Century. Problem-based learning which presents students with the opportunity to collaborate and solve authentic problems is missing.It is almost shocking how few young, educated individuals know how to do the basic tasks of filling examination forms, applying for educational loan facilities, handling banking processes, writing official letters, or simply facing interviews.
As learning on the job is now an obsolete concept, applicants need to have an in-depth understanding of the role they are applying for.Institutions, therefore, need to adopt an evolved approach to prepare students for facing multifaceted challenging environments.
Skills and Knowledge Go Hand in Hand
The intensively competitive and evolved work space requires students to be able to match the new expectations. Re-designing the school curriculum and the classroom strategies is thus crucial to prepare them for the needs of the modern world at an early age. These modifications include the introduction of 21st Century skills such as Super Skills of Creativity and Innovation,Critical Thinking and Reasoning, Communication Skills, Collaboration and Compassion, Financial Literacy, Reading Skills, Ethics, Values &Life Skills, and Health, Hygiene and Fitness, into the program of study.
These skills would present students with the opportunity to enhance their academic learning in a more systematic and informed manner so that they are ready to tackle societal challenges in relevant social issues. Also, they would prevent them from having any unrealistic expectations and aid them in exploring meaningful job opportunities.
How Do We Ensure That Our Children Are Future Ready?
Not much can be achieved if the dedication in altering the curriculum is not supported with a similarly evolved assessment procedure to test students on their subject depth. Multiple rounds of evaluations spread over the school, city and national level, employing OMR based and computer-based tests can help in preparing students better for the challenges of tomorrow. The contest with these timed tests would focus on 21st Century skills and in developing early entrepreneurship. They would encourage children to showcase their super skills in solving complex problems and measure their thinking ability against their peers.
These tests can be divided into the junior section, for students of grade 6 to grade 8, and the senior section, for students of grades 9 and 10, for all the State, Central, and International
School Board students. The results can be published online along with downloadable digital participation certificates. By testing each student on the grade level content, these contests would help develop an understanding and appreciation for creativity, innovation and socially significant topics for the 21st Century.
While schools focus on the academic subjects, similar importance needs to be given to these skills and topics that enrich academic learning. Only a balanced approach between the two can assist students in qualifying as the Nation Builders of Tomorrow.
We look forward to your comments and encourage you to contact us if you would like to discuss more.
To know about TCS iON Life Long Learning Initiative for students, visit us at https://learning.tcsionhub.in/LLL/se/intelligem .