The world of today is increasingly driven by technology. The situation is likely to become even more techno driven in the future with terms like the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, artificial intelligence, automation, big data etc., holding sway. This requires a trained workforce that is aligned with the processes and goals of businesses to help the latter stay competitive. To achieve the objective, the workforce of tomorrow (read the students of today) should be initiated into the world of technology right from their school days. This requires the focus of education to shift towards STEM initiatives (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) to prepare students for the future.
All said and done, the gap between the needs of the industry and skills of the workforce leaves much to be desired. This has set the alarm bells ringing in the industry and business circles with the perceived lack of skills impacting outcomes. These are in terms of reduced productivity, paucity in innovations, poor quality products and services, and cost escalations.
Should skills be taught not just before getting jobs but in schools?
According to a McKinsey Global Institute survey, around 51% of job roles are vulnerable to automation in the future. So, even though the alarmists are not 100% right when they say automation shall lead to massive unemployment in the years to come, the scenario does need the workforce to be equipped with the necessary skills. So, what needs to be done in order to prepare the current and future generations to thrive in the techno-driven ecosystem? The answer lies in preparing them right at the school level to meet the challenges of industry when they become a part of the workforce. Remember, training a person when he or she joins a business can involve the following constraints:
Can skills be equivalent to education? Education with mere theoretical knowledge and no practical application is not sufficient to meet the demands of the future. Equipping children with the right skills during their growing up years can go a long way in making them adaptable to the demands of the industry quickly. Hence, it is the right time that we start thinking on introducing skills in school and integrate it as a part of the curriculum.