Importance of 21st Century Skills
“The only skill that will be important in the 21st century is the skill of learning new skills. Everything else will become obsolete overtime.” -Peter Drucker
Like jobs and industries, abilities and skills also have to evolve with time to keep up with the world. The continuous evolution of the talents possessed by people is extremely necessary to thrive in life. 21st century skills are the abilities which seem important to excel in the present time and are open to learning new skills and techniques.
By definition, 21st century skills refer to a broad scale of contemporary skills that are deemed necessary by educators, professors, employers and other professionals, to succeed in today’s world. These skills can be applied in various areas whether it is educational, professional or social. With the medium of this blog, we will be unfolding the importance of modern-age skills and its in-depth insights.
Importance of 21st Century Skills in the Present Scenario
There are three main categories of the modern day skills:
Foundational Literacies: These consist of core skills, which one puts to use in daily life at job or school. Literacy about technology, media and finance helps you to function on a daily basis. Like using a laptop (technology) to make presentations or reading news (media) to invest your finances (financial) properly.
Competencies: These are a group of approaches one might use to deal with complex problems. Critically analyzing a problem or creatively finding a solution to it shows how you deal with the problems in front of you. You saw trees depreciating in your surroundings and thought about all the bad effects it will have on the environment. But as you live in an apartment you cannot plant big trees and have limited space so you decided to plant some wall plants that are flat friendly.
Character Qualities: These are the ways a person would deal with the ever changing environment. There are people who are flexible and easily fit in different environments or those who have great social skills and influence the surroundings according to them.
What are Contemporary Skills?
Critical Thinking: Analyzing the presented data, arguing the plausible solutions, comparing the similarities and solving the problems are the parts of thinking critically. There are several activities and games that you can find here to develop your critical thinking skills.
Creativity: It is a practice of thinking outside the box. Creative thinking is expansive, open-ended and gives the opportunity for invention as well as discovery of new possibilities. It empowers students to see things in a different light and gives them the ability to construct new, diverse and unique ideas. These ideas aren't restricted by rules or norms, they are rather free, unbound and imaginative.
Collaboration: Qualities like team building, resource allocation and managing a group are entitled under collaboration. This skill not only entails the ability to work with others but also learn from, share with and express oneself with them. Arranging ties with different people and organisations is indeed considered a valuable aspect in the present time.
Communication: Conveying ideas and thoughts swiftly and clearly is the basic idea of good communication. Successful communication is done with the use of appropriate words and correct voice tone for expressing. The way you communicate your ideas is considered more important than what your idea entails. There are several other factors that contribute to conveying a message, for instance, body language, has a great say in determining the confidence of an individual.
Media Literacy: Being informative about media includes knowing the difference between fake and real news as well as understanding the sources (where and whom) from which the particular facts are being sourced.
Information Literacy: It is a skill to find, evaluate, manage and communicate the information in its several forms and being able to do it under the pressure of solving a problem, making a decision and acquiring knowledge.
Financial Literacy: Basic knowledge of managing money and debt is called financial literacy. Budgeting your income into proportions, and deciding where you want to spend it is very crucial. Schools often lack in providing the basic knowledge around budgeting, even though it serves as one of the most essential life skills.
Technological Literacy: Ability to keep up with the ever changing environment which is based on technological advancements is called technological literacy. Every aspect of your life today is interlinked with technology, therefore using it to your advantage is very important. People nowadays are earning through social media platforms and this has become a successful industry.
Flexibility: Capability to turn and mold according to the group’s requirements for achieving certain goals is termed as flexibility. Thinking on the spot to react to the sudden changes in the environment is inclusive of this skill. This serves as a very crucial ability in your daily life as it helps in establishing healthy relationships with people.
Leadership: Taking a group forward together, using every member’s skill to its fullest potential and taking the responsibility for giving the group the right direction, will constitute a good leader. A person who cares about the members of the group, acknowledges their talents and puts them to a good use is respected and looked up to as a good leader.
Initiative: The will to learn, explore, improvise and achieve new goals will be evident in a person who is ready to take initiative. This skill is much appreciated as it helps in giving a push to work towards one’s goal.
Productivity: It involves attaining the desired objective by setting the aim, prioritizing requirements, managing time and working ethically with clients and colleagues.
Social Skills: With time, socializing has changed from what it used to be. Students are now required to excel in starting a conversation, table manners, expressing gratitude as well as online etiquette.
Need of the 21st Century Skills
The Future of Jobs Report published by the World Economic Forum (WEF, 2016) suggests that skills that are increasingly going to be important in the next 5 to 10 years will almost exclusively be those classified as “21st century skills” by various frameworks. Demands are changing from basic to more personality integrated, like, direction following to analyzing information, hard work to smart work and paperwork to artificial intelligence. Employers require people with strong 21st century skills.
Skills like productivity, initiative, leadership and social skills have proven to be essential for the stability of professional businesses. The ability to take a group forward, give direction to it, complete the assigned job within time and make connections with professionals around them is termed as character quality. These result in creating a successful working environment and thriving group of students.
Whereas the approach a person uses to deal with the problems in front of her/him is also a factor in developing a great personality. Critically analysing the problems, finding creative solutions for them and communicating it with your colleagues and friends is extremely necessary and productive for holistic development.
As Alvin Toffler said “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be the people who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” The most important 21st century skill is the open mindset to accept change and the ability to learn new things.
As we have covered the essential skills of the 21st century, we would love to know from you, “Which of the above skills according to you are important for your growth?”, Do share in comment section with examples
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