New skills 'should be included in school curricula'
Dubai, March 17, 2014
The key to overcoming the problem of the growing mismatch between the skills students are gaining through their formal education, and the skills that employers need to drive productive and profitable businesses is in embedding 21st century skills in school curricula, said an expert.
Speaking at the Global Education Forum in Dubai recently, Frank Edwards, the workforce director of Pearson, said: “The mounting skills gap crisis is having a damaging impact on countries not only in the Middle East, but right around the world.
“It can be attributed in part by entrepreneurship and productivity stagnation and the overall slowing of economic growth in affected countries as well as structural weakens in education systems. The problem is also having far-reaching social and political ramifications that policy leaders are keen to address.
Education experts from around the world discussed the most pressing issues affecting education in the Gulf region at the forum, focusing on the need for education systems to better equip young people for the demands of the modern workplace.
The modern world demands that we are equipping our students with skills such as leadership, collaboration, problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity. And given the pace at which the world is changing through digital innovation, we also need to be teaching our young people how to learn – as they will be forced to adapt to new technologies and new work pressures as they progress through their careers, said Edwards.
He pointed out that these are all qualities that may be called ‘21st Century skills,’ required to thrive in the current world of work, regardless of industry or sector.
Fathima Dada, the global managing director of schools and school services at Pearson, said: “We are faced with what appears to be a puzzling problem – 75 million young people are looking for work, and many more are underemployed. And yet, around 40 per cent of employers complain that entry-level employers are lacking in necessary skills.
“We can blame two key causes – a failure of the education system in preparing recent school leavers and graduates for work, and a failure in our young people to successfully adapt to the workplace. At the heart of this failure is the inability of education systems to provide learners with the skills that employers need.”
“We need to ensure – and prove – that the way we are teaching our young people genuinely helps and equips them to progress to the next stage of their lives, and makes a positive contribution to the economic and social community in which they live,” said Dada.
“By embracing 21st Century skills ourselves – taking a collaborative and creative approach to problem solving – we can deliver an educational experience in which learners, education providers and employers all have confidence in,” she added. - TradeArabia News Service