AbstractKnowledge andtechnology are prime movers of economic growth and productivity in modernknowledge based economies. If we are to keep pace with the constant changes ina hyper globalized world, we can no longer bank upon 19th centurymethods and curricula to educate and empower youth in the 21stcentury. The huge mismatch between the high demands of the employers and theinadequate competencies of the working population results in a wide skills gap.On one hand, there has been a surge in the number of underskilled and unemployablegraduates. On the other, future jobs are being threatened by automation. In orderto avert a major employment crisis in the future, the typical education systemin India ought to be revolutionized through a paradigm shift from an examinationoriented approach to a capacity building and human development approach. Since theskills gap has emerged as a global crisis, Partnership for 21stCentury Skills (P21), an organization of educators and business leaders hasdevised a framework for the skills quintessential in the 21stcentury.
Of these, this paper focuses on four learning and innovation skillsnamely communication, critical thinking and problem solving, creativity andcollaboration. Elaborating upon the importance of each of these corecompetencies and suggesting ways to embed them into the curriculum, this paperargues that skilling must be an ongoing process and begin right from school. Pedagogies,assignments, examinations and evaluations must be research-based with equalimportance to learning through play. Problem based learning and project basedlearning are beneficial strategies for the same. Being student-driven,research-oriented and teacher-facilitated, these practical exercises productivelyengage students and promote active learning that the passive one-way transmissionmodel of lecturing fails to achieve.
It is critical to imbibe 21stcentury skills in the students of today so that they can be able leaders andglobal citizens of tomorrow. It will not only enhance their capabilities andprepare them for the future but also mould them into active participants indemocracy and nation-building.Keywords:21st century skills, education, communication, critical thinking, creativity,collaboration, problem based learning, project based learning