Foundational skills and lifelong learning will pave the way for an equitable skilling ecosystem
New Delhi, March 2023.
As a precursor to the upcoming third G20 Education Working Group meeting scheduled in Bhubaneswar, the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) organised the 2nd webinar on the topic ‘Foundational skills and lifelong learning in the context of future of work. The webinar was attended by an esteemed panel including Shri Atul Kumar Tiwari, Secretary, MSDE;Shri Sanjay Kumar, Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy, Shri Nirmaljit Singh Kalsi, Chairperson, National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET), Dr Krishna Kumar Dwivedi, Joint Secretary,MSDE; and Dr. Maneesh Mishra, Executive Vice President- Strategy, NSDC along with key stakeholders in the skill ecosystem and industry experts.
With the rise of automation across industries, it is imperative to mainstream foundational skills into the curriculum framework to effectively measure the learning outcomes. The webinar offereda unique platform to discuss how to increase the capacity of the youth and promote lifelong learning by pivoting on disruptive technology so that they can adapt to the ever-evolving future of work.
Sharing his views, Shri Atul Kumar Tiwari, Secretary, MSDE said, the rapidly evolving world demands more than knowledge acquisition, students must develop the ability to learn how to learn to navigate the challenges of the future of work and embrace the real-world situation. The education system should prioritize the development of foundational skills, as well as higher-order cognitive abilities such as problem-solving and critical thinking, to enable students to succeed academically and ultimately improve their quality of life. Therefore, education stakeholders must collaborate and focus on strengthening foundational learning to ensure that students are equipped with the necessities for the future. This can be achieved through the integration of technology and blended learning, as well as the development of robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to track learning outcomes. The future of work emphasizes the need for formal recognition of universal entitlement of learning and establishment of effective lifelong learning ecosystem.
The webinar brought together industry leaders, academicians, and organizations to discuss the significance of foundational skills among school-age learners as well as them adapting to ‘learn to learn learning’ to develop solutions for ongoing global challenges, climate change being on priority. Eminent speakers from Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Education (MoE), NCVET and global organisations, Asian Development Bank, and OECD shared their views on early identification of skills and the role the government and the private sector can play in providing foundational skills.
During the first session – Shaping the future workforce with skills to succeed – the experts deliberated on how the G20 countries can come together to help people realise their full potential. This is also critical as globalisation, new technologies, migration, and changes in the labour market alterthe World of Work. All the speakers agreed that there is an urgent need to make relevant skills like scientific temperament, creativity, communication, and problem-solving a part of the curriculum which some of the stakeholders are developing. Education also needs to be made a continuous process, with opportunities for learning and upskilling throughout an individual’s life.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Krishna Kumar Dwivedi, Joint Secretary, MSDE said, “The rapid proliferation of emerging technologies is fundamentally transforming the way we work and with this, predicting the future of work trends has become an increasingly complex and challenging task. With the potential of these technologies to replace humans in certain roles, it is significant that we adapt swiftly to the changing market needs. The role of ChatGPT is expanding in the workplace and its capabilities suggest that it may replace up to 20 human job roles soon. With aforesaid, coordinated efforts are required to develop a vibrant ecosystem to address the challenges of future of work”.
Shri Sanjay Kumar, Secretary, Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Education, said, “The Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi once quoted that the greatest challenges that the greatest challenges the world face today can only be solved by acting together, and amongst the various skills that we talk about, collaboration happens to be one of the prominent ones. We live in a world where globalization, new technologies, migration, changing labour markets, and environmental & political challenges
Additionally, the discussion shed light on how the government, academia and the industry are working to establish a system to deliver foundational skills and facilitating dynamic learning over the life cycle to ensure people keep pace with the current trends. They also acknowledged the positive role that National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) have been playing in augmenting foundational skills.
In the second session – Transitioning from Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) to Recognition of Continuous Learning (RCL) – the discussion centred around how this shift is critical for the G20 nations especially as they are witnessing a paradigm shift in the composition of employment, marked by the advent of new jobs requiring high-level cognition and socio-emotional skills. The panellists reiterated the need to deliberate on how the future of work is changing and to make the most from the emerging opportunities and making all learning subjected to assessment. This will remove any ambiguity and establish academic equivalence between vocational education and general education, enabling mobility and promoting prior, and continuous learning.
Going forward, lifelong learning will also need to rest on four pillars – learning to be, learning to know, learning to do, and learning to live together. These are also critical as India looks forward to establishing a skill-based learning structure, complementing knowledge-based learning among students. This will also help the nation to rethink lifelong learning in the context of the ongoing changes and building a robust digital infrastructure that will contribute to making a future-ready workforce.
Overall, the webinar focused on identifying policies and practices across multiple themes to strengthen teaching and learning methods, contents, curricula, and assessment frameworks, making education more relevant in the aspect of capacities and skills required in G20 nations.