Education is important, but skills are necessary!”
Indeed, skill-based education can no longer be considered a choice but has become a fundamental requirement. Despite having a growing population, there is still a considerable gap between education and employability.
According to a recent study, 67 percent of Indian employers are trying to find skilled manpower to meet their requirements and the reason for this is the lack of employability skills, such as communication, presentation, interpersonal skills, teamwork, etc.
One of the reasons for the glaring un-employability is the preference for academic subjects by parents and the society in general. Most students are victims of the misconception that skill-based learning leads to poorly-paid jobs. However, this is far from the truth!
Companies are always on the lookout for students who have the requisite skills, along with technical knowledge and intellect needed for a particular profile. The presence of these skills helps them become good employees and assets to the organization!
Skills That Could Help Students Become Great Employees…
A skill-based education system can help students build specific skill sets that are required in the corporate environment. This system can no longer be focused only on traditional, theoretical methods, but must be incorporated with a dose of practicality!
Only a pedagogy that is focused on the following skills can make students ‘employable’ and more ready for the future!
Adaptive Thinking: Technology is always in a state of evolution, and it can be challenging for employees to be flexible enough to adapt to it. Future employers will always prefer students who are able to pick up things effectively and efficiently, and only a skill-based education can achieve that!
Communication Skills: Probably one of the most underestimated skills, knowing how to communicate effectively is something that might be at the top of every employer’s wishlist! Again, technology plays an important role here, with the barriers to communication disappearing every day, and the availability of multiple modes and media to connect with anybody irrespective of geography.
Students who know how to communicate their thoughts, and are well-versed with how communication works in a corporate setup will always be given preference over the rest.
Collaboration Skills: A traditional education system fosters competition and independence, as against teamwork. But, with globalization, this ‘ivory tower’ mentality will not really work. Employers are on the lookout for team players, who can work with people across geographies.
Inquiry, Critical Thinking, & Problem Solving Skills: Traditional pedagogies expect students to focus on getting answers. However, the focus now is on innovation, and this can be achieved only by training students to ‘ask the right questions’. Additionally, employers aren’t looking for students who simply go by the rulebook, and follow instructions to the T. The need is for students who can evaluate existing situations critically, challenge the status quo, and solve problems.
Personal Management & Soft Skills: A skill-based education system can ensure that students aren’t just perfecting their technical knowledge, but also learning the skills that are needed in the real world — of planning, managing, delegating, and being proactive with tasks. Employers need people who don’t need to be told what to do — they need self-starters!
Empathy & Perspective: Probably the most important and most underestimated skill is that of empathy. A rote-learning based education inculcates a sense of blind competition, without focusing on people skills. Students need to be able to visualize themselves in another’s shoes and evaluate situations. It is this ‘perspective’ that helps them be successful employees.
The Kind Of Skill-Based Pedagogy Students Need…
Given the demands of the dynamic world we live in, it is essential to develop a partnership between education and the real world. There are three steps to convert a traditional education setup into one that’s more in tune with the requirements of employers:
Incorporating a learning environment that’s practical, and building a link between education and the workplace, by interspersing the study modules with practical work experience.
Establishing a ‘community development’ based model, where there is a mutually beneficial relationship between learning institutions and organizations. In this approach, the facilitator will transfer the knowledge between the organizations. The company will be benefited by receiving new information, knowledge, products or redesigned services. Students are not just learners, but are also exposed to the working environment.
Developing a goal-oriented partnership between student, teacher and company that enables the co-creation of knowledge, as well as critical analysis and systemic development together. Students can take part in the processes at workplaces as part of their internship or project-training and solve authentic problems related to strategic development within the workplaces with their various learning assignments.
It’s time to shirk the traditional methods of learning, and embrace new ones that will be more relevant in the future — methods that focus on developing skills!
Dr Richa Arora,
Group CEO and Director of Regenesys Business School