By embracing transformative approach to upskilling youth, we can ensure that they not only thrive but also lead us toward a more sustainable future
In a world marked by rapid evolution and constant change, it is imperative to recognise the significance of preparing our youth for the future. With over 1.8 billion individuals aged between 10 and 24, as highlighted by the United Nations, the potential of this demographic to drive progress and transformation is immense. But it is equally important to acknowledge the challenges they face in a job market that is constantly in flux.
The statistics are revealing: in 92 countries, nearly three out of four young people aged 15-24 lack the emerging skills needed for employment, as per estimates by the Education Commission and UNICEF. This challenge is particularly pronounced in developing countries where access to education and resources can be limited. This glaring disparity underscores the urgency of providing our youth with skills that are not only relevant but also adaptable, transcending borders and empowering. Let's consider India, a nation with a vast talent pool in the information and technology sector. India has the potential to become a hub of technology and innovation, expanding beyond its role as one of the biggest IT exporters globally. However, it is imperative to transition from merely acquiring new skills to creating well-rounded individuals with the capacity to address social issues.
Changemakers Mindset: Fostering a Changemakers mindset leveraging entrepreneurial thinking and problem solving is essential to equip the next generation for the 21st century's challenges and opportunities. Global leadership programs and initiatives offer a unique platform to instill this mindset in young students. By immersing them in a curriculum that emphasises on innovation and entrepreneurial thinking around some real life challenges, we can prepare students to excel in the 4th Industrial Revolution. Programs aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals provide students with a sense of purpose and responsibility, reinforcing the importance of changemaking in creating a more sustainable and socially conscious future.
Nurturing Digital Skills: Technology is a crucial tool for transformative education. It connects students to a wealth of knowledge and experts worldwide, enabling innovative problem-solving. Beyond job readiness, it empowers youth to address pressing issues using advanced tools like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), and Virtual Reality (VR).
The focus should shift to a holistic, interdisciplinary education, preparing youth for a tech-centric future in various sectors even in traditionally non-technical fields like medicine or psychology.
Beyond the Classroom: Learning extends beyond the confines of a traditional classroom. Students acquire knowledge and skills through experiential opportunities, such as engaging in projects centred around environmental sustainability, social justice, and community involvement. Empowering Youth: Involving youth in shaping their own education is crucial. Instead of imposing a strict, top-down approach, a more flexible, bottom-up method is desirable. This means listening to the ideas and opinions of young people about what they're learning. By equipping youth with new skills, we empower them to pass on their knowledge to the next generation in their communities. This results in a collaborative system where everyone has a role in making sure young people gain valuable skills.
The path to equipping our youth for the future is multifaceted. It involves fostering a changemakers mindset, nurturing digital skills, emphasising socio-emotional growth, empowering youth to take charge of their education, and extending learning beyond the classroom. By embracing these transformative approaches to upskilling our youth, we can ensure that they would lead us toward a brighter, more sustainable future.
(The writer is Founder & chief mentor 1M1B (1 Million For 1 Billion), views are personal)