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Let learners be given some choice!

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By: Adv. Mohd Aamir Malik

Over and again, we come to know that the output of our educational system is not what the job market seeks.

Does this apply to Kashmir only? Well, I believe the answer can’t be expected in affirmation. If you think that it is a simple question to tackle, then I am delighted to say that you have solved trillion dollar question that Governments, all over the world, are seeking to resolve so desperately. You might ask- don’t we have a solution already? To make the task easy, the idea must be hovering in our minds that why can’t we spare some time with the decision-makers in the Ministry of Labor and Education in a room before we open doors and let anyone go home, you might ask? Well, I wish it were that easy.

The requirements of the job market are constantly changing, as are the skills needed, especially as we become more advanced in consuming and interacting with new technology. So how fast can we change the curriculum to adapt to this ever changing scenario amid technologically advancing world? Not fast enough, I am afraid. In fact, I don’t think it will ever catch up (sorry to be a bit pessimistic).

So, should we just give up and say it’s not our problem, and let’s keep calm and carry on? I am afraid, even if we ignore this issue, it will never go away. So what academicians and educators are supposed to do in order to resolve the issue until the stake-holders finish tackling this massive issue manually in their respective academics? My personal view pertaining to the issue would be that teachers, professors and educators need to quickly deal with the issue with the combination of three actions.

Students need to take charge of their education, rather than be spoon-fed of information or be forced to attend these kinds of programs

Firstly, we should assign real life projects rather than theoretical exams that encourage the regurgitation of information without actually demonstrating to the students how this can help them in their daily life or work.

Secondly, we must make the knowledge relevant to everyday life. For example, taking a statistical course can be connected with one of Saudi Arabia’s most popular sports: Football. Let’s analyze the game and calculate the number of passes completed as opposed to just taking numbers and doing calculations. Make sport a business case to analyze in order to evaluate the players and what they might be worth in terms of transfer fees. Finally we should develop training programs within schools and universities that focus on soft skills, such as teamwork, leadership skills and public speaking, and give out certificates. Let’s not make it mandatory, but rather encourage the students to attend such classes in their spare time. This by itself needs a longer discourse.

So give three solutions which educators can implement letter and spirit which I think would create a desirous and equally significant impact on the quality of our students and their acquired skills, which can bring closer to what the job market in Kashmir needs.

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