Changing social and employment dynamics require a paradigm shift in the way institutions and governments approach education for the 21st Century. This will help them understands the need to update the skills or provide them in a way that is market friendly. There has been a total shift in the market meaning that provision must also change. The skills of the future will be different or will require a different application.
Research indicates that competencies required in the next few years are not what was needed years ago. Entry into the market requires redirection and a different approach in preparation. There is consensus on several facts.
One major issue running across the debate is that more education remains central to better achievement. It provides unwavering security of opportunities that will help the person support his or her family. It is one of the sure ways of achieving a middle class lifestyle for most people.
There is an apparent return to where learning began with emphasis on language arts, mathematics and basic sciences. Those pursuing and mastering these courses are ranked higher than their peers. This means that they are more acceptable in the job market than those specializing in emerging professions.
Formal education is no longer enough for one to achieve set goals in life. Other skills required are a solution oriented individual, a critical thinker, a collaborator and effective communicator, innovation that creates new paths and products and a flexible individual who can easily adapt. Dynamic personalities are able to survive in the demanding future job descriptions.
The extra skills required for survival cannot be taught or exist on their own. Students who engage with deep content have a higher possibility of developing better survival skills like critical thinking. The suggestion is that, the competencies cannot be isolated from the curriculum.
The job market is taking this shape as a result of certain influences. Rapid automation of processes through computerization has reduced human workforce in many sectors. This has seen a reduction in the need for instruction based employees like accountants and office administrators. Strategic managers, communication experts, writers, readers and mathematicians are on higher demand.
Globalization is leading to skill transfer since a person can work in any part of the world. The skills required are therefore broader and competition has increased. Reduced bureaucracy through restructured companies has reduced the workforce needed in a particular place. One person is required to do what several people used to do. Such flexibility and extended ability will be in higher demand in future.
An increasing older global population is required is presenting a potential danger. It means that people must be prepared to do that which they did not engage in traditionally. Diverse skills are called to fore. There is a need for individuals to take personal responsibility at work. This is affecting job security, working years and work related social benefits like health. One is supposed to handle that a personal level.
Several factors are defining education for the 21st century. The imminent return to basic subjects like language, maths and communication because of the skills they nurture, need for emphasis in knowledge application with focus on solutions and the need to be flexible and dynamic at the work place. This is the graduate the future needs.
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