Skill -oriented learning has quite been the hot – topic in the field of education for a considerable period. The schools’ curricula have been discussed and debated time and again to usher relevant modifications attuned to the wholesome development of students. Skill-oriented learning is one of such changes that has been attempted or accomplished most consensually in schools and colleges. From being just another regular innovation in educational institutions’ academic models, skill development has now become a necessity more than any other time. There is no mystery to an evolution of this kind. It’s needless to establish that education is a tool for maintaining our relevance with changing times. The factor of ‘relevance’ actually makes the term education distinct from literacy. Therefore, skill-oriented learning is one step more towards making education relevant. Relevant for contemporary times.
In this article, let’s try and get an insight into the role and relevance of the concept of skill-oriented learning, most commonly found in school and college time -tables as the ‘skill period.’
“WHAT IS THE POINT OF THIS?!’
Sounds familiar? At some point in at least one of the subject periods, all of us have asked ourselves, our peers, and even teachers the question mentioned above. It is only instinctual to question the relevance of concepts while learning. While theory-centric subjects bear their significance for knowledge enhancement, they are also incomplete without a useful skill-set that can enable the student to apply the theories learned. As the number of career options and academic streams has multiplied over the years, so has the need for dynamic portfolios for various jobs increased. These are the contemporary times when having a level of expertise in subject-specific knowledge is more sought when accompanied by a practical understanding of the same. Even in the most theoretical of all subjects like Political Science, History, Biology, etc., the current times have created a need for amalgamating skill-based learning procedures with classroom lectures. In summation, skills add the element of applicability to every chunk of knowledge gained. Hence, the relevance is assured.
Almost every individual gaining education aspires for a secure future. Long gone are the days when having a job and financial independence was seen as an option. Today, every individual from a middle-class family is trying to settle for a secure future. As the demand for decent jobs has increased manifold, so has the competition. It isn’t enough to be a first division scorer to get the desired standard of living and settlement. Employers today are eagerly looking for skilled individuals who can contribute to their organizations usefully. One reason behind this demand is also the expansion of domains within organizations themselves. To successfully run a fully corporate outlet also a combination of skills is required and not just sales and marketing. It requires individuals trained in computer skills, refined content writers, copywriters, and Human Resource Department, which calls for people with strong communication skills. Therefore, a skill-oriented learning process in schools itself can help children grow up into trained or at least aware individuals who are not blinded by ideologies like “only scoring 90% can make me worth it.”The process of learning must go beyond conceptual knowledge and navigate areas of contemporary relevance sincerely.
A SHIFT IN VALUE ASSESSMENT.
Until the last decade, the principal parameter of assessing an individual’s value or merit was his or her qualifications. This can be safely said about conservative societies, at least. Hence, all that children and more so their parents focused on was passing in examinations with flying colors. The flight had to be above a 90 % mark, that is. Consequently, classroom performance summed up on a piece of paper called the report card stated a child’s value. It also was the most commonly accessed fortune-teller of the child’s entire future. This practice hasn’t wholly been outmoded, though, but it sure has been pitched against a robust alternative trend which we call skill-oriented learning. A child not doing well as per the standards of academic excellence set by schools and colleges should also be able to find a niche for himself or herself by graduating with a set of relevant skills like computers, communication, statistical analysis, photography, etc. Mainstreaming skill-oriented learning is not just helpful for making children explore a spark of creativity in themselves but is also elementary in bridging disparities of opportunities available to those living in urbanized areas and those living in rural ones. Students who are unable to access a standard quality of academic learning must also be able to secure a future for themselves and their families. Skill-oriented learning helps here.
Contemporary times are times of dynamism and innovation. A successful mantra of learning is one that hits the right balance between knowledge and skills.