With the world entering into the 4th industrial revolution, there is an urgent need for educational institutions to adapt to the evolving changes in both the society and the economy. These changes highlight how institutions should reconsider the kind of capabilities students need to be equipped with, in order to be able to keep up with such developmental trends. The current expectation is for the educational system to not only fulfill its key objective in educating students, but to also be able to build them up as highly skilled, future-ready workers across various industries.
What should educational institutions do in order to keep up such constant progressions and shifts in economic and workplace needs? The answer is in reviewing, developing and updating existing curriculums.
The new standard: digital quotient
Where personal aptitude was previously assessed primarily based on measures such as intelligence quotient (IQ) and emotional intelligence (EQ), it would now have to be extended in order to measure an additional ability: digital quotient.
From life to school and work, the digital realm is becoming a more pervasive part of society. With an increasing number of applications going digital, and many even disrupting traditional means of carrying out tasks, it is now more of a requirement than a ‘good to have’ for people to possess a certain level of ICT skills and knowledge. This would enable people to fully participate in the modern society and allows them the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge, should they wish or need to engage with ICT more deeply.
Education: staying relevant to modern needs
Similarly, this is very much the case for students preparing to enter the workforce. The equipping that these young people receive should allow them to be effectively literate in both technology – emerging or otherwise – and communication.
As such, while providing a good academic foundation remains a big part of an educational institution’s primary purpose, there is also a need for such institutions to equip students with such skills. Not only would this add much significance to their overall learning experience, it also propels them forward in preparing them for working life and in turn, increasing their future employability upon graduation. This is because a lack of specific fundamental digital skills could directlyimpact job security.
As students are consistently given the opportunity to broaden their skills base, there would be an overall improvement in the level of confidence in both their skills and themselves – this could allow them to assuredly express such abilities to potential employers.
Curriculum development: A dynamic process
According to the findings in a high-level Asia-Pacific discussion helmed by the UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau (APRB) for Education in 2012, countries like Singapore, Vietnam and Japan have “scheduled review cycles” that range from between five to 10 years, while this process takes place on an “ad-hoc basis” in other countries, “usually driven by external factors or emerging issues”.
On-ground feedback from employers who can draw attention to the skills gap they are currently experiencing in their industry is another signal to indicate the need for a curriculum review. They often reflect the existing and evolving needs of the modern-day workforce, and are able to better articulate how these institutions can equip students to best meet such needs.
So, is there an ideal or optimum time for educational institutions to effect changes in their curriculum? There is no hard and fast rule in such implementations – in fact, this is a rather dynamic process that should be adapted according to current societal or economic trends. This should determine how the institution could best equip students with the skills necessary to traverse the world they work and live in, beyond the walls of their educational institutions.
Indeed, such rapidly changing socio-economic developments fuel a demand for a higher quality of education. When educational institutions are able to successfully meet these new learning outcomes in their curriculum, this would, in turn, provide a boost in their reputation for their approach in effectively equipping their students for the future.
Consider implementing IT modules at your educational institution today – our modules are designed to equip learners with essential skills for their professional life, ensuring they have the minimum skills required for the digital world. Learn more about them here.