There many different opinions on 21st Century Skills as it have two distinct characteristics, tangible and non-tangible. Due globalization and internet revolution competition has increased multifold and so is the expectations from workforce. But the question is do our education system understand and feel the new corporate expectancy? Is there any connect between industry and academia? Are faculty and trainers, enough trained?
There are many more questions, but the truth is “Unemployable Manpower”.
“Business leaders are looking for people with a far wider range of skills than ever before,” said Michael Rendell, global HR consulting leader at PwC in a press statement. Gone are the days of life-time careers, chameleon-like employees who apply their skills whenever and wherever they’re needed are now in high demand.”
Our educational system is so designed forcing students to concentrate more on rot learning than on developing a spirit of enquiry, which is the most predominant factor to achieve success at work place. During their high school education, many engineers would have neglected studying humanities, languages and arts. In this process, an all-rounded development of complementary human intelligence and faculties like creativity and inter-personal skills is stunted.
A view Point on 21st Century Skills: So, what are these skills?
Domain skills are academic skills related to a particular field like technical knowledge for engineering or fine arts for arts students or management knowledge for MBA students. Today when we look at the scenario, there are huge numbers of educational institutions imparting various courses but, if you ask industry people they would say that the domain knowledge, taught at educational institutions, is deficient and outdated.
This is alarming and must be taken up on priority else, the next generation will face daunting task of getting decent employment and industry will face even more workforce shortage. The bottom-line here is to revamp the curriculums……nothing else will change the scenario.
2. Vocational Skills:
Vocational skills are directly proportional to job but require training infrastructure and good instructors. Many developing countries have failed to concentrate on vocational skills leading to lack of development in manufacturing sectors and stunted entrepreneurial growth. Vocational courses should be developed as per the industry requirement keeping certain industries in mind. Students who want to get into job should also consider vocational courses, as they will make you proficient in one particular trade. Similarly with new trades and innovations worldwide new vocational streams are also developing.
3. Soft/Life Skills:
Life skills or soft skills are increasingly becoming the hard skills of today’s workforce. It’s just not enough to be highly trained in academic skills, without developing the softer, interpersonal and relationship-building skills that help people to communicate and collaborate effectively. With the traditional style of leadership becoming outdated, professional managers expect their teams to be more proactive and communicate openly.
A distinction is maintained between soft skills and hard skills. While hard skills refer to technical and academic skills, soft skills refer to wide-ranging personal and interpersonal skills. Academic and technical skills can be more easily defined, observed and measured.
We need to integrate soft skills with curricula at the level of policy, grant it a special status and allocate special funds as a mass skill drive of soft skills enhancement in higher education. If there is one way of sustaining the Indian economy, it is through strengthening the youth in terms of their soft skills and life skills. Skilled youth for Indian economy is not only required for rendering the education system accountable but also making it relevant to the operations of the country and the world. The earlier we realize the value of soft skills for education, the better we will fare in the economic challenges that face us. It is not something to be merely debated about but it is something we have to contemplate about and act upon.