How can parents engage children effectively through skill-based learning amidst COVID-19

The inclusion of a mandatory skill-based subject, alongside the academic subjects, will build confidence among children to pursue a career later.
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This is the second consecutive year when children remained at home, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rise amidst the widening vaccine gaps.

This unending crisis has driven formidable challenges for parents, who are worried about how to continue keeping their children engaged and utilise their time productively indoors in the absence of any kind of outdoor activities.

However, parents can partially overcome this situation by introducing children to online courses on technical or skill-based training programmes, which are crucial to gain a competitive edge and prepare them for tomorrow’s world. 

What do the children need to learn today to succeed in tomorrow's world?

The constant advances of digital technologies have had a major impact on employment and society. In the next few years, these changes are expected to speed up and change the nature of the work.

Non-routine analysis and interpersonal tasks become increasingly important, with all cognitive and routine tasks automated.

In other words, analytical, interpretive, and creative thinking tasks have become important for survival. Students need to focus on the development of these “21st-century” skills besides merely acquiring knowledge. 

Empowering students with future skills

Skill-based knowledge promotes a way to research and gain skills in a particular field through practical application of the knowledge acquired from academics instead of traditional rote learning.

Several courses aim to create independent learners, including Python programming, robotics, logical thinking in English, Mathematics, and Science, application of Physics, story-making, and creative writing. 

National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 highlights that high-school students can also use practical knowledge on several skill-based training courses. 

There are premium online programmes curated as per the age of students, aimed at providing the experience of adopting 21st-century skills, cutting-edge technology, contemporary science, values needed in a technology-oriented society, and most importantly, learning how to be self-disciplined and self-motivated learners.

These courses can empower students to have a sense of direction or an indication of the type of profession they aspire to pursue.

Creating a unified education

The inclusion of a mandatory skill-based subject, alongside the academic subjects, will build confidence to pursue a career later. The NEP 2020 aims to ensure that at least 50 percent of Indian students should have exposure to skill-based training programmes by 2025.

With an integrated learning approach, students can learn about various professions in-depth, while also getting hands-on experience through skill-based training programmes.

Additionally, students will be able to channelise their abilities towards their interests to achieve success. In the process, they will also enhance their cognitive skills, creative and critical thinking, ability to reflect, and more.

By considering a credit-based system for skill-based education, India can improve educational inclusion and quality. This holistic approach will also allow the interoperability of credits between skill-based training and mainstream schooling.

These programmes can be easily provided through online and mobile-based distance learning, which is easily accessible and affordable at all learning levels.

Relevance of learning practical skills for future prospects 

Incorporating skill-based training at an early age can promote self-regulated learning, develop qualities to achieve excellence, boost competitiveness, and prepare youth to be employment-ready.

The programmes identify problems from schools and everyday life and ask students to dig deep and find solutions to those problems.

Students are then introduced to life skills such as problem-solving, design thinking, critical thinking, and reasoning with evidence, among others, which will inculcate values of persistence, empathy, inclusivity, and learning from failures.

Skill-based education develops both the required skills to perform a particular job and the right attitude to appreciate and perform in any given role.

With technological transformation and globalisation, India's education system is undergoing rapid transitions. However, the system still needs radical reform in the way we approach learning by adopting teaching and learning methodologies.

There is a need to focus on how children learn specific concepts and skills. It is an interdisciplinary field with various topics, including language, maths, science, etc., and other subjects such as psychology, cognitively, computer science, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, language technology, natural language processing, etc. 

Parents and teachers are the primary influencers in forming the values of the students. This process is accelerated by technical skills and knowledge, especially when introduced into mainstream training. 

Additionally, educational institutions and edtech companies should offer programmes in association with incubation centres and industrial training institutes or local businesses to provide students with real-life experience.

A radical change in the education system may also lead to innovation driving, increase productivity by respecting every role at work. 

Edited by Suman Singh

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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