Disruption and innovation are taking centre-stage in the global economy, and India is not an exception. In 2015, the government showcased its efforts to transform India into a digitally advanced society with the implementation of the Digital India Programme.
The Programme focuses on presenting digital infrastructure to every citizen, seamlessly integrating services across platforms and increasing universal digital literacy, collaboration and accessibility to digital platforms for all citizens.
For India to succeed in its mission of going digital, India needs to prepare individuals and organisations to anticipate and adapt today, to the changes of tomorrow. This begins with educators and educational institutions in the country who have the responsibility to equip students – the workforce of the future – with the necessary skills to meet the needs of a disrupted economy.
Designing learning experiences that prepare students for the 21st century workforce
Technology is reshaping the way we live and the type of work we do. By year 2030, 20 percent of jobs that exist today will no longer be in existence. The future workforce demands more than what is currently taught in traditional and conventional classrooms. Students will need entirely new skillsets and it is up to educators to incorporate this into their current teaching methods and experiences.
The shift in the demands of the job sector means that educators need to shift their teaching methods. Apart from hard skills and technical expertise, the most in-demand soft skills employers are looking for include creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability and time management.
In India, 87 percent of hiring managers believe that candidates with strong soft skills will be increasingly important to the success of their organisations. The first step in cultivating such skills would be to present more flexibility within curriculums – moving away from just learning in the classroom.
Institutions should consider alternative, skill-based methods that focus on academics as well as values that teach students the importance of service and peaceful existence. These can be incorporated through small group discussions, extra-curricular activities including camps, talks and seminars by industry leaders and other programmes that draws importance to the world we live in today.
These opportunities take students on a journey of self-discovery as they learn to strike a balance between understanding technicalities, making judgement, and driving social awareness, thereby leaving no child behind. Further, through constant feedback and deep reflection, students gain deeper self-awareness as well as critical thinking, enabling them to become more effective members within a cohort and better future leaders.
Being real world ready through new ways of thinking and learning
Apart from inculcating the development of soft skills within an academic structure, students today should also be exposed to technology and disruption within their daily curriculum. The most important investment we can make today is to nurture students who are digitally savvy and ready to work alongside technology in the workforce of tomorrow.
Educators need to recognise that education plays a part in bridging this gap, and institutions ought to pivot towards incorporating digital technologies into the very core of their educational offerings and experiences.
To further strengthen a student’s development for the digital economy, educators should also consider how they can improve current teaching standards for students to be agile and digitally fluent upon graduation. For instance, ramping up investments in technology into the school system will provide immersive learning experiences for students.
In an article by Forbes, virtual and connected classrooms which allow students to interact, communicate, engage and collaborate on the go was highlighted as one of the ways to integrate technology into the classroom. Such classrooms will expand a student’s learning environment beyond a physical space and the campus.
At Global Indian International School’s SMART Campus, we have designed transformative learning experiences using a combination of highly qualified teachers and real industry experts to respond directly to both current needs and possible future challengers of an evolving marketplace. We believe in equipping our students with an open mind and relevant skills that they will actually use. We have embedded technology to allow our students collaborate and communicate with leading educators and their peers globally.
This is an example of how schools can consider incorporating technology to innovate their teaching methods. Students will not only have the chance to gain new perspectives on their lessons but also learn alongside their schoolmates from different countries.
It is time for us to begin nurturing our students for the workforce of the future. Former Indian philosopher and statesman, Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan once said: “The true teachers are those who help us think for ourselves”.
As educators and facilitators for the future workforce, we must step up to intensify continuous collaboration, reinvention and experimentation amongst students to develop them into successful adults.
Digital technologies will never replace us as educators but will continue to provide us with assistance in delivering the best education for all students, and to create a dynamic and innovative culture of learning that will accelerate long-term change and future-proof our organisations. It is our responsibility to ensure that students are ahead of the curve, comfortable and ready to work with the evolving tech-driven, hyper-connected world.