Schools in India typically adopt an academic-centric model of education and learning is confined only to classrooms. However, there are schools which are an exception to this, and such schools have realized that education should not be only about gathering information, which will recede the learning process, but should be about life-changing skills training in the curriculum. Giving students wide options at a younger age gives them the opportunity to explore and learn things beyond textbooks and classrooms.
It is a process that helps children build a stronger foundation for a thriving future on the academic as well as professional front. Skill and vocation-based learning as recommended by the National Education Policy (2020) enables wide variety of learning capacities and incorporation of qualities that will help students handle the real world. Let us examine a few advantages of skill-based training at school:
Boosts creativity in students
In skill-based learning, students are pushed to think out of the box and innovate to find new ways to approach problems. Students are better able to grasp and learn new skills at an early age and they become more imaginative when exposed to a whole new range of experiences. Schools need to focus not only on academic learning, but skill-based learning as well which happens when children are exposed to projects, workshops and activities that make them holistic personalities for the future.
Skills help formulate clear goals
Conventional education systems assess students by marks and grades. However, skill-based learning at an early age prepares children for a world based not on test scores alone. Children develop clear goals as they get to explore the experiential side of life. This is vital as children will not depend only on memorizing concepts but be able to identify and analyze their strengths and weaknesses at an early stage. This will enable them to identify a clear path ahead of them and focus on fulfilling relevant goals.
Enhances independence of thought and action
When knowledge and skills are combined in pedagogical practices, they tend to encourage independent thinking among students. Skill-based teaching also prompts students to depend less on trainers. This approach to life should be embedded in children at a very young age so that they continue with this vision when they grow older. Confidence to handle real life situations becomes part of students’ outlook.
Collaboration is the key to bring out the best results from actions intended to solve real-world problems. At most skill-based training programmes, focus is on team building, while preserving the capacity to think on one’s own. The ability to strike a partnership is deeply appreciated in most settings ranging from school to industry. This will enable a renewal of skills that one possesses and prepare students to encounter and handle diverse situations.
Students become quicker learners
When students have multiple avenues to learn through, their speed of learning and grasping automatically shoots up. Using a skill-based approach can help students understand concepts faster and strengthen what they already know. Students also develop multi-tasking better at a younger age and eventually would be quick and decisive in multiple situations. Companies now look for candidates who have a great ability to shift from task to task quickly that calls for quickness in intelligence.
Develops communication skills
Through skill-based learning, children are taught to push boundaries and develop their vocabulary, which transforms them into better orators and communicators. In the modern world, jobs require great communication skills and the capacity to convey thoughts and intellect to people around you come from training in and exposure to communication modes in your younger days. Students should not miss opportunities to turn into excellent communicators, which would reap rewards and boost their confidence.
Skills help build futuristic workforces
Early introduction of skill development in the curriculum simplifies the transition from student to a working professional. Students develop employable skills when they receive holistic education and with technologies changing rapidly and enabling audio-visual learning, interactive and smart classrooms, students turn more competent compared to students who are not into skill training. Skill development in schools has a positive impact on the fabric of the country’s workforce in the long run.
In conclusion, it can be said that in a constantly changing environment, having life skills is a basic part of being able to address difficulties of regular day to day life. The dramatic changes in global worldwide economies over the course of the recent years have been complemented by changes in technologies. All these are impacting education a great deal at the school level and in the present scenario, there is no waiting till college and post-graduate education to develop skills. The mantra should be to learn skills earlier than later as we live in a rapidly changing world.
(The author is the Trustee, Greenwood High International School)