According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), unemployment rates will continue to rise in the next few years, with over 212 million people being unemployed in 2019. Ironically, even while these statistics are being released in Geneva, major corporations and countries around the world strive to find employees to fill their vacancies. In fact, according to the author of “Winning the Global Talent Showdown”, Ed Gordon, there will be 14 to 20 million of vacant jobs that will be quite difficult to be filled. So, where have we gone wrong?
Of course, there can be many reasons for this. Experts (ILO) argue that factors such as inequality in terms of resources and education, inequality of payment and most importantly, and outdated education system, might be the lying at the heart of the problem. Even though it is difficult to analyze all these factors at one go, let us look at the role education plays in this context, and how this liability can be transformed into an opportunity.
Technology as a part of education
With the advent of computers and the internet, information technology plays a key role in the lives of the people. From shopping for groceries online, to conducting high-level meetings, information technology is now integrated in to each and every aspect of our lives. However, it is sad to see that most education systems, especially in the Global South, fail to reflect this growing trend. Education, in these areas, is still confined to the traditional mediums of teaching resulting in what can be called ‘a generation of text book nerds’. This is why while most students from the IT sector find employment, students who pursue liberal arts or social sciences find it hard to secure employment opportunities that suit their credentials.
However, what is in fact needed is a system which incorporates technology into education. For an example, introducing mobile apps for hairdressing can be very useful in this context. Mobile applications are currently being used to address and deal with many issues and aspects of life: be it keeping track of your daily calorie intake or advocating for human rights in a global platform. Introducing such modules, for example, to a student of social sciences will encourage him/her to learn the technology behind them, and design and use them for work related to their disciplines. Through such initiatives, we will be helping students in this otherwise neglected arena of studies to come to the forefront of competitive employment.
Inculcate cognitive skills
While there are many students who are text-book-smart, employers complain about how they often lack the analytical and problem solving skills they seek for their tasks. This might be owing to the fact that students are hardly encouraged to engage in problem solving during their studies. This can, once again, be addressed through creative strategies. For example, a module can be introduced through which students are encouraged to engage in iphone app development for school. This can be for any purpose, but should cater to an existing problem with an easy solution. Modules such as this inculcate analytical thinking and problem solving skills, which are much needed for any work place.
Soft skills improvement
Yet another problem that employers complain about is the lack of soft skills in their employees. Soft skills can be loosely defined as interpersonal skills, communication and the ability to work within a group. This problem can, once again, be addressed at a very young age through leadership activities, group work and capacity building. Hence, these aspects should be considered by all educational institutions and policy makers worldwide.