World Youth Skills Day: Developing skills... What is the way ahead — online or offline?

The past two years of pandemic have been a testimonial to India’s massive growth in internet-based learning and skilling

Siddharth ChaturvediUpdated: Thursday, July 14, 2022, 10:17 PM IST
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Education is an important pillar of the country’s development. Investment in learning and skilling is needed and it is something that cannot be ruled out. A highly-skilled workforce will accelerate India’s economic growth and ensure productive outcomes. Even businesses are undergoing digital advancements. This is often accompanied by the rise in automation and the demand for new skills that will make the working population future-ready.

The past two years of pandemic have been a testimonial to India’s massive growth in internet-based learning and skilling. This is indicative that as a country we have the potential to revolutionise skill-sets and vocational based education in India. Pre-pandemic, there was an influx of students moving to the cities to look for employment and better job opportunities. With the introduction of practical demonstrative learning and skilling courses from institutes, students can now prepare for a long-term career in different sectors.

The school lays the foundation for a lifetime of learning in a student’s life, they learn a wide range of important life skills in school - such as communication, teamwork and sharing - this helps them become responsible members of society. While schools have always imparted basic and moral skill along with education, there is a need of infusing more technical and futuristic skills which has proven vital in today’s era. According to a recent study by World Economic Forum, approximately 97 million new roles will emerge by 2025 due to newly developing dynamics between technology and the workforce. Hence, up skilling and reskilling is the only way forward to keep up with the pace of ever-evolving business world.

While there is no denying to the fact that online education has its own benefits, it cannot fully replace the offline education system. For the holistic success of the education system, both online and offline education must coexist. The two need to complement each other.

With the internet now readily available on mobile devices, it is easier for students to find a lot of value in the ease of access and affordability of online learning. With the help of technology advancement, students who reside in tier two and three cities are also able to learn from the best and renowned educators who may be based out of anywhere in the country. The industry experts believe that while schools will continue to operate offline or in a hybrid model, other types of learning such as test prep, vocational training, career and business skills will continue to happen online. Soft and social skills cannot be accurately replicated by technology. Therefore, a blend of both is absolutely paramount.

National Education Policy (NEP) 2022 also lays emphasis on more holistic learning. It calls for a creative and multidisciplinary curriculum that includes humanities, sports and fitness, languages, culture, arts and crafts, in addition to science and mathematics. This altered approach is designed to help students develop academic expertise with vital leadership skills that could help them in their career path.

(Siddharth Chaturvedi is Director at AISECT Group)

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