Abstract competencies of the working population results in a

Abstract

Knowledge and
technology are prime movers of economic growth and productivity in modern
knowledge based economies. If we are to keep pace with the constant changes in
a hyper globalized world, we can no longer bank upon 19th century
methods and curricula to educate and empower youth in the 21st
century. The huge mismatch between the high demands of the employers and the
inadequate competencies of the working population results in a wide skills gap.
On one hand, there has been a surge in the number of underskilled and unemployable
graduates. On the other, future jobs are being threatened by automation. In order
to avert a major employment crisis in the future, the typical education system
in India ought to be revolutionized through a paradigm shift from an examination
oriented approach to a capacity building and human development approach. Since the
skills gap has emerged as a global crisis, Partnership for 21st
Century Skills (P21), an organization of educators and business leaders has
devised a framework for the skills quintessential in the 21st
century. Of these, this paper focuses on four learning and innovation skills
namely communication, critical thinking and problem solving, creativity and
collaboration. Elaborating upon the importance of each of these core
competencies and suggesting ways to embed them into the curriculum, this paper
argues that skilling must be an ongoing process and begin right from school. Pedagogies,
assignments, examinations and evaluations must be research-based with equal
importance to learning through play. Problem based learning and project based
learning are beneficial strategies for the same. Being student-driven,
research-oriented and teacher-facilitated, these practical exercises productively
engage students and promote active learning that the passive one-way transmission
model of lecturing fails to achieve. It is critical to imbibe 21st
century skills in the students of today so that they can be able leaders and
global citizens of tomorrow. It will not only enhance their capabilities and
prepare them for the future but also mould them into active participants in
democracy and nation-building.

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Keywords:
21st century skills, education, communication, critical thinking, creativity,
collaboration, problem based learning, project based learning