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Employers Now Seek “21st Century Skills”

  • Experts believe that the country should improve its education system to build a more competitive workforce.
  • Dr. Ethel Agnes Pascua-Valenzuela, director of SEAMEO, said employers are now looking for modern skills.
  • Dr. Ernelea Cao said teachers need to get appropriate training on how to become more efficient.
  • Visit The Financial Today’s homepage for more stories.

Experts on Wednesday said the country should improve its education system to build a more competitive workforce.

Dr. Ethel Agnes Pascua-Valenzuela, director of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) said employers are now looking for modern skills during a joint Senate committee hearing.

“They look at 21st century skills… to work with a team at the same time, be able to work independently… And sometimes, the 4-year university degree is required with 2 years of experience,” she said.

Specifically, IT skills are on top of the list due to global workforce automation, which will result in 10.2 percent displacement of jobs in Southeast Asian nations in 2028, she said.

In 2019, the Philippines ranked sixty-fourth in the “Global Competitiveness Index,” with Singapore first. For Pascua-Valenzuela, the government and schools have to focus on improving education and skills training programs. Employers will seek out more programmers, data scientists, and software developers, she said.

“What’s needed is digital literacy… like coding skills, computational and logical thinking and of course, 21st century skills. Critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity,” Pascua-Valenzuela said.

According to Dr. Ernelea Cao of the UP Diliman Institute of Biology—College of Science, to improve the capacity of learners, educational institutions and teachers also need to evolve in imparting knowledge to learners.

The COVID-19 crisis has prompted educational institutions to change their teaching methods, she noted.

“The key word here is adaptation. And our educational system must provide an environment so that our graduates can adapt whether it involves science and technology, business or culture and arts,” Cao said.

Cao said teachers need to get appropriate training on how to become more efficient.

Requiring students to memorize lessons would no longer be effective if they don’t apply it, she said. What’s needed is for teachers to allow children “to process information,” she added.

“What we should establish is an enabling environment so our graduates should be creators of technology instead of just buyers of technology,” Cao said.

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