The Education Revolution – The Next Level Transformative
It is the topic of an increasing number of articles on the Internet and the concern of large numbers of employers – too many job seekers do not possess the skills that are most needed in the workplace.
And we are not here speaking about technical or vocational skills, although they too are in scarce supply. Across the board, whether the job requires post graduate academic qualifications or a vocational skills certificate, employers are finding that across industries, applicants are woefully lacking in the “soft skills” needed to get the job done.
LinkedIn, the largest social network for professionals says there are five particular traits that pose the biggest skills gap in the workplace — and it’s a global problem. Certainly it is a problem here in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
These elusive skills have been identified as (i) problem solving or critical thinking (ii) flexibility or adaptability (iii) communication (iv) leadership (v) innovation and creativity.
St Vincent and the Grenadines has done extremely well with getting our young people certified and qualified. But each year, hundreds of newly minted college and university graduates come on to the job market clutching their diplomas, only to be disappointed when their job searches turn up empty.
The youngsters have poor communication and social skills, lack initiative, display a woeful lack of self confidence during interviews and struggle to express themselves in standard English.
But it is not their fault.’
Our education system, designed as it is to prepare our children to pass the CSEC and CAPE, has not done as good a job at preparing them for living and production. Certainly, aspects of the soft skills are taught as part of the curriculum of subjects like Home and Family Life Education, English A, Social Studies, etc., but in a cursory fashion and not in any great depth.
Then there are organizations like the Rotary Club, the Girl Guides Association and most recently Mije Personal Development and Advertising Agency which host workshops and seminars to help to bridge the gap. But although these efforts are usually of good quality, they are but a drop in the bucket compared with what is needed.
Now more than ever, with SVG transitioning to the service sector and with the addition of over 1000 hotel rooms in the works, there is a need for the ‘soft skills’ to be infused into the schools’ curriculum from as early as primary school, with the lessons being reinforced with practical sessions held every year right up to the community college level.
The Education Revolution must move to the next level. If not, our bright, talented and well educated young people will not be able properly position themselves to grasp the opportunities that await them here, and in the world at large.