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Equip Your Students with Real-world Skills: How to Prepare Them?

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Back in October 2020, the World Economic Forum (WEF) presented the top skills that would be most useful in the workforce by 2025. These are the skills that would make strong, capable, and thriving professionals in different industries. Given the changing times, the advancement of technology, and even the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, WEF found that 50 percent of all employees today will need reskilling in the next five years to keep up with their more advanced contemporaries.

Considering the skills that would set the near future, students — especially those in secondary schools, International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme — will need to learn these skills today. This is so that, in the future, when they officially join the workforce, they are more than ready to take a stab at it and eventually become successful. It won’t be easy to foster these skills in young adults and the next generation of professionals. But the school system in Singapore has been doing this well over the last few years. Here’s how.

Problem-solving Skills

Skills in problem-solving have always been among the top skills that are essential to a successful workforce. But these skills are always developing to keep up with the times. And the most fool-proof way of fostering these skills is by applying them in practical situations. As students in secondary school and International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme, their studies aren’t as specialized yet as college students. But, in Singapore, they get to participate in a program that would help them put their problem-solving skills to the test.

This program is the Applied Learning Program (ALP). It was launched back in 2014 by the minister of education at that time, Heng Swee Keat. This program is designed to become the bridge between academic knowledge and real-world skills for students.

Self-management Skills

According to WEF, skills in self-management are among the newly emerging skills of the future. Such skills include active learning, resilience, flexibility, and tolerance. This isn’t surprising considering how the workforce has transitioned drastically over the last few months. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the quarantine restrictions, workers from different industries were forced to transition to remote working to successfully practice social distancing.

Recent surveys also show that the work-from-home setup may prevail in the coming years. According to a survey conducted by the Straits Times, eight out of ten workers in Singapore prefer remote working or have flexible arrangements. Because this is what workers now prefer, it won’t be surprising if the next generation of workers would also work from home.

Thus, students today — and tomorrow’s generation of workers — will have to be highly adept at working independently. The good thing is that Singapore has always had strong programs for independent schools, allowing students some flexibility to develop their academic and non-academic curriculum. More than that, Singapore also offers programs in specialized independent schools (SIS). These schools specialize in mathematics and science, science and technology, sports, and the arts.

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Working with People

Much like problem-solving skills, skills in working with has always been a strong contender in the lists of top skills of the future. But, today, WEF found that skills in leadership and social influence would be particularly useful in the future. Yes, with the growing popularity of remote working, more people would be working independently instead of in teams. But this doesn’t mean that leadership qualities and social influence would become obsolete.

The best way to develop skills in leadership and social influence is through co-curricular activities. Such endeavors prove that being in school doesn’t mean containing all of the learning within the classroom. Students should also gain new knowledge and skills through other activities. The good thing is that Singapore has schools thathave clubs specializing in areas such as sports, coding, and fashion, and beauty.

Technology Use and Development

Among the skills presented here, the fourth one may probably be the most unsurprising. With the constant development of technology, it’s no wonder that the workers of the future must become savvy users of it in order to keep up.

Fortunately, Singapore has committed to ensuring that all secondary school students have their own laptops or tablets to help with their learning by 2021. This is, in part, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for remote learning. But this initiative has always been a plan for the minister of education.

Given the skills of the future, it’s very much clear that students today need to starting honing them. This way, they would be fully equipped as they join the workforce in the future. Luckily, we have Singapore’s education system to look up to.

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