A common problem today is the division between the higher education and the workplace in the modern world. A lot of students do not always possess the skills to find success after graduation. Various studies show that on an average 40% of the graduates around the world do not have the needed skills to make appropriate decisions outside the environment they were accommodated in for four years.
The root could be originating from different environments. On one side the highly-structured environment of educational programs, but on the other the dynamic modern workplace. Students usually succeed in college by obeying schedules and study guides, while employees achieve success by being creative, self-driven and adaptable. In other words, the graduates are missing the “soft” skills needed to be able to adapt to the workplace, where the shifting tasks cannot simply be learned from a text-book during one semester. “Soft” skills are in turn gained as a derivative of how students actually learn, but not exactly by what they learn.
One way this transition could be improved is through modernizing the student curriculum. Any of the methods that would be selected to undergo this change would include harsh criticism on the present teaching methods and a long adaptation time span. However, there has to be a starting point that teachers themselves can initiate without the bureaucratic stepping stones that need to be jumped beforehand.
Teachers can already provide students with better opportunities with alternative learning methods with which students would be forced to develop their own means of critical thinking and the trial-error culture of decision making. This way they would get a sense of the real working place ahead of them and a feeling that they are currently on a job or an internship. Methods as student competency assessment aim toward a more practical and project oriented work curricula.
That being said, finding partner employers in the area to get a sense and align their curriculum with the job market in the future. This is a two-way street success since employers will get a pool of more qualified applicants once they graduate.
Assessing the likelihood of the program can also contribute to the change. Surveying employers, statistics about the job market state and other pointers can help both parties bring their program into line. It is certain that certification, continued education plans etc. certainly help with the hard-skills, but have led to poor soft-skill enhancers like leadership and critical decision making.
The job market is very dynamic and careers change greatly from day to day on an intensive pace. With the right data, methods and research applied to evaluate what learners need to build appropriate programs, institutions are able to define a better position on the success path. Keeping the market changes on the radar and providing the means of experiencing the right education method from day one in schools is the way to go.
We are open to hearing any comments from our readers regarding this problematic and potential solutions!