Is Skill More Important Than a Degree?Posted: March 30, 2016
Education, whether it is traditional or modern, has the same objective i.e. of making a student ready to face the future with confidence. But what is the best medium to impart the education has always been a debatable question. With some saying the traditional ways have proven themselves for years and thus are undoubtedly the best, there are another group of people who believe that the education system needs to change, for it to be future-ready. What is the truth and is there a way both can be combined?
The gap between career and degree
Traditional education is all about concentrating on a single subject or field that you are passionate about and helps you earn the specialisation in the desired discipline. The primary objective of traditional education is to help you receive a degree. Career on the other hand, nowadays, is becoming more fast-paced and requires a complex skill set that would complement someone’s profile. So, the gap between career and degree has widened with increasing competition amongst job seekers.
Job opportunities have become limited as almost everyone holds a degree and you can see hundreds of applications for a single job opening on any job portal. But most of the applicants lack the requisite skills other than what they have been taught at schools/colleges. So, there is an immediate need for bridging the gap between degree and career.
The middle route: Career-oriented education
One should not confuse career-oriented education for vocational education as there is a huge difference between the two. Vocational education is specifically designed so that a student gets specialisation in a particular job while career-oriented education aims to make the students learn skills that will complement their degrees. Thus, career-oriented education provides the best of both traditional and modern education in a complete, fool-proof package.
We believe the amalgamation of traditional and modern education is not that complex. It just needs good planning to make a course such that it does not put the burden on the students. And not only makes it easier for students to pursue their passion but at the same time gather skills important for their future/career along with their regular studies.
IT Skills training and exposure to subject-specific technology
Information technology is playing an important role nowadays everywhere; how we communicate, collaborate and create is somewhere somehow touched by IT. So it is very important to have IT skills. Nowadays most companies want their employees to have the basic IT knowledge so they can do their work effectively. Starting these early on is going to help the students a lot and let them know how technology is shaping their field of study i.e. how the subject that they are seeking a degree in is specifically touched by the technology.
Leadership skills training
Today’s students are the leaders of tomorrow. We often hear this saying, but do the educational establishments prepare their students in this direction? A very few even look into this direction. Remember, here we aren’t talking about political leaderships that many higher-educational institutions have. The context of leadership here is entirely different and is about showing the students ‘how to take initiative,’ ‘how to make decisions, and’ ‘how to stand by the decision that will affect others.’
Communication skills with social and emotional learning
Communication is an important aspect of human existence, it is our ability to communicate well with each other that distinguishes us from the other beings on the planet. However, these days, people believe the importance of great communication is in most cases masked by someone’s grades and subject knowledge. People get so busy getting better grades that they do not feel the need for communication skills at all. Communication skills do not just include the ability to speak articulately, but also about making the social connection and being empathetic to others. It also includes interacting with the others clearly without any misinterpretation by them. It additionally includes emotional interaction – How another’s emotions are affected by having a conversation with you.
By fragmenting a course syllabus, the students will be able to choose the subjects they are passionate about and will help them to concentrate on a specific career path. It also helps to ease the burden of learning everything even if it might not be of importance for the students in the career they are interested in. ICSE board, I personally believe, does it best for the school students – it gives them enough options to choose from and mould their learning in the right direction for the career they want to opt for.
In conclusion, we want to urge the educators nationwide to know the benefits of closing this huge gap between skill & degrees. And focus on delivering education via a flexible system that can easily accommodate the need of the hour. Education should no longer be thought as just the process of earning a degree, but should be seen as holistic skills development of an individual for a better tomorrow.