The world that we reside in today is highly driven by technology. It is the Age of not only Information but of Communication and collaboration as well.

In such an environment, adapting to constant change is a necessity. Being a student in the 21st century is so much more than just memorizing facts and regurgitating those facts to be successful in our lives. The pressure and expectations from us are far higher than they have ever been, and the pandemic has forced us to adapt to a completely new way of learning.

Thus, arises the need to equip ourselves with the knowledge and the required skills for us to be able to live in the global environment. 21st-century skills can be considered as skills that are required by a person for their holistic development as an individual and to adapt to the rapid change in the world of work.

What are 21st-century skills?

Essentially, the 21st-century skills are intended to help students succeed and adapt to a fluid environment that is becoming increasingly competitive given the way the market scenario has been functioning.

They can broadly be divided into 3 categories:

1. Learning Skills

The definition of world learning has changed massively in the past few years. What used to be done in a classroom with the constant help of a teacher has now turned into a one-person activity, that is why the following skills are extremely important in the 21st Century:

i). Critical thinking:  Finding solutions to problems and issues, objective analysis of information. This skill is useful for everything ranging from health science to business culture. It is a skill that is almost mandatory for every professional in every kind

ii). Creativity:  Thinking differently, or outside the box, originality, fluency, and flexibility in new thoughts. This skill helps see things or concepts from a different perspective or light, and would thus lead to new ideas and innovation.

iii). Collaboration: Working with others, and learning how to work in a team. In a work environment, it is necessary to interact and work with our colleagues to ensure the best possible outcome for that venture. The key element of collaboration is respect for one another’s needs and perspectives and willingness, meaning all the people in the team have to be willing to sacrifice parts of their ideas and adopt others to get the best results for their organization.

iv). Communication:  Talking and interacting with others. This skill is a crucial one as the ability to convey and express one’s thoughts and ideas, and to be able to communicate effectively to remove any kind of

2. Literacy Skills

These skills involve the ability to access and assess information, media, and technology to critically evaluate and understand the different aspects of content and information.  

i). Information literacy: Understanding facts, figures, and data. This skill is essential, as it is important to separate facts from fiction, in an age that is surrounded by a lot of misinformation, myths, and, misconceptions.
ii). Media literacy: Understanding how information is shared with the public. It is the practice of identifying publishing methods, outlets, and sources while distinguishing between the ones that are credible and the ones that aren’t.
iii). Technology literacy: Understanding the machines and the instruments that help in spreading the information. Technology literacy gives us the basic information that we need to understand what gadgets perform what tasks and why to adapt to the world more effectively.

3. Life Skills

These skills are concerned with one’s personality and behavior, which serves an important role in both our personal as well as professional life.  

i). Flexibility – It is the ability to adapt to changing circumstances, and situations. Flexibility requires us to show humility and accept that there is always a lot to learn — even when we are experienced in our fields. 

ii). Leadership – Motivating a team to achieve a goal. It involved walking a team through the steps required and achieving those goals collaboratively. This skill is directly related to one’s career as it helps us understand the intentions and reasons behind the decisions that managers and leaders make for their respective organizations. 

iii). Initiative – Starting projects, strategies, and plans by oneself. It is important not only to work on a project but also to show an interest in starting something new or working on one’s ideas. This skill is indicative of someone’s character in terms of work ethic and professional progress.

iv). Productivity – Maintaining efficiency and sticking to deadlines. A student can complete work in an appropriate amount of time or within a given time. By understanding productivity strategies at every level, we can explore and discover how they work best and equips us with the practical means to carry out our ideas.

v). Social skills – Interacting and maintaining a network, and connections. The concept of networking is more active in some industries than others, but proper social skills are crucial tools for forging long-lasting relationships and ensuring that the venture is running efficiently and successfully. 

 

Why do we need 21st-century skills?

The trends in technology, education, and the economy are moving towards automation. To thrive in this ever-changing world, one needs to be acquainted with the necessary skills and tools. Knowledge is no longer the sole commodity needed for success.
Rather, the next generation of leaders and doers must be able to form valuable relationships and make connections with those who surround them. They must build their problem-solving and adaptability skills to create solutions and drive innovation forward, resulting in the betterment of not only their respective work ventures but the world at large.
Hence, arises the need and importance for the 21st-century skills that all of us living in the current age should be familiar with, and use to adapt and adjust to an environment that is constantly changing and progressing.