Skills to be Developed at School

Sunitha Srivastava

Founder Principal, VLS International Public School, Bengaluru, Karnataka

When I see schools now and look back on my school days, I notice the meaning of ‘school’ has changed tremendously. Many positive changes have taken place. Currently, textbooks are not the only source of learning; many other forms have come forth. Teachers are not mere knowledge-transferring agents, but they are change agents. Hence, teachers should always put their best foot forward.

We are in an age where the future is unpredictable and exciting. We do not know what developments will change our lives in the next 20 years or what job opportunities will be available. But, there are some skills the school can still focus on which can tremendously help students in their careers.

A school should focus on teaching students these nine core skills:

1. Communication Skills

It is an art of putting across one’s thoughts in such a way that the listener understands it, without ambiguity. Students must be made aware that listening is one of the main components of communication skills.

2. Digital Literacy and Cyber Safety

Half knowledge is perilous. It is not only about knowing how to explore gadgets but also being aware of the threats involved. Children must be aware of phishing, spam, password security and online money transaction etiquettes. They should be warned that posting on the net is quick and easy, but the consequences can be long term as once posted, it will possibly be online forever.

3. Decision-Making and Analytical Skills

Forming ground rules at school is the first step to include them in decision-making. In activities, involve students as it gives them a sense of ownership and makes them responsible. The students with analytical abilities will be able to handle shaky situations in a better way. They foresee the problem and try to find a solution for the same. With the explosion of content on everything a man can possibly think of, students should analyze what to pick up and what to neglect. Teaching them how to go about this is a challenge.

4. Problem-Solving Skills

Gen Z is blessed with comforts. Parents make sure that the problems are solved before they even approach their kids. This possessiveness has hindered their problem-solving ability. They must be provided with opportunities that help them to learn how to solve problems in school and at home and how to deal with failures.

5. Global Citizenship

They must learn about other cultures and changes, adopt the good things about them and also respect and value someone who follows a different culture and way of life. ‘Vishwamanav’, a concept of universal brotherhood propagated by Swami Vivekananda, Rabindranath Tagore and Kuvempu, is more applicable now than it has ever been in the history.

6. Team player

Students are bound to be in groups at their workplace. The preparedness to be a team player should happen at the school level.

7. Leadership, Entrepreneurial Attitude and Skills

Students must be part of a democratic leadership program. For this, a students’ council is a great platform. It should be imbibed practically in students. All stakeholders must demonstrate strong democratic leadership. Before the students move to their senior secondary classes, they must have the ability to think and have practical knowledge of launching a product or a service. If it is innovative, it adds a feather in their cap.

8. Mindfulness

It is the ability to be in the present, uncluttered, which is an essential trait to be developed at an early stage. Multitasking leads to incomplete tasks and doing everything haphazardly. Mindfulness reduces stress, increases performance and maintains balanced mental health.

9. Emotional Intelligence

Internet, gadgets and urban mechanical lifestyles have reduced physical interactions with both humans and pets. People are more interested in texting on phones than talking to the person in front of them. This is causing an erosion of emotional quotient where genuine emotions are replaced by emojis. Lack of person-to-person interaction is leading to a lack of empathy for fellow beings, resulting in increased violence, deviant behaviour and depression.

To conclude, a set of skills keep on changing, and students must be dynamic with the passage of time.

Sunitha Srivastava

Founder Principal, VLS International Public School, Bengaluru, Karnataka