Education vs. Skills – Where are we headed?

Education vs. Skills – Where are we headed?

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With the advent of the fourth industrial revolution “skill gap” is pushed to the forefront, generating unparalleled attention from recruiters and candidates alike. As per World Economic Forum, over 35% of skills will become obsolete or change in the next five years.

 

What does the shift mean for candidates?

Employers are no longer looking at only your degree or marks for hiring. Nat Eliason describes in his blog the problems of a GPA/ Marks-oriented mindset affecting every student. He states how your marks are only a “secondary indicator” of your skills. The skills mindset is a shift in how we approach any career opportunity.

For example:

Does that mean our degrees are useless?

The simple answer – No. A degree is required for showing your domain expertise especially in technical jobs like doctor, engineer, scientist etc.

But for Gen-Z the Indian education system is not structured for the shift in hiring. Recruiters are slowly moving towards a skill-centric hiring process, while our current system concentrates on rote-based learning rather than hands-on-learning.

Should we be pursuing only skills?

When it comes to the skills vs education debate, there’s no one side that can be chosen. Academic and classroom teaching is set to impart knowledge or domain expertise. Education serves as ground zero for individuals to learn the fundamentals, gain conceptual clarity and form a framework for the field of choice. Thus, making education a prerequisite for any field to help individuals grow holistically.

An integrated program or a bridge course would help students transition from an academic setting to a work environment. To improve the current curriculum, AICTE has mandated internships for engineering colleges along with a periodic review of coursework. This move reduces the burden of rote learning and incorporates practical learning into the curriculum.

Students can prepare themselves by being proactive and understanding their core skills and developing the skill mindset. Self-learning has picked up in the last decade. There are plenty of startups focusing on skill training and continual education.

The job market is clear on what it requires, it’s time for the academics to catch up. As automation makes its way into every industry, most low skill jobs are going to become obsolete. While Education is an important aspect of development, it doesn’t mean anything unless powered with the right set of skills.


Also published on Medium.

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