Alka Kapur, Principal, Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi, India

An icon in the world of education, Ms. Alka Kapur, has marched Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi ahead in full stride. Thanks to her inspiring tutelage and leadership, Ms. Kapur is not only the chief steward of MPS but the soul of this wonderful institution. Her novel thoughts and deep insights brought enormous laurels to MPS at national as well as international level. She joined MPS on 1st July 1998 as a Primary teacher and was promoted within a span of 2 years. Under her regime as the Head of the School, MPS made commendable progress and achieved various pre-set goals.

“Through my education, I didn’t just develop skills, I didn’t just develop the ability to learn, but I developed confidence.” – Michelle Obama

Education is worth it if it makes the brain, eyes, tongue, hand, feet or at least one of them skilled. The changing industrial and job market scenario of the world opens career gateways to people who are skilled, not just educated. In such a disruptive scenario, the youngsters are highly pressurized to perform their best at every stage. However, the performed task has no value unless it has a practical significance. So, understanding the importance of Skill Development at a young age, right from the school level, and schools must follow curricula that help societies to address the unemployment problems and equip the industries with desired talent.

It is important to introduce skill training at the school level as it helps in achieving success not only for a healthy society but also for successful individuals. Activities like critical thinking, creative art and craftwork, decision-making, problem-solving and ability to collaborate and communicate with a sense of responsibility towards personal as well as society at large are the outcomes of skill-oriented schooling.

To face real-world challenges, students need to learn skills at each level of development. Today, it has become necessary for the schools to provide their students with intellectual, creative, physical, social, and negotiation skills which make them ready for leading a better life after school. Altogether, this skill development program needs to be brought into the educational institute, as there are a large number of youths in India who fails to secure a desirable job in the market, despite sound academic qualifications and knowledge. Due to the lack of proper skills and unfamiliarity with the current tools and trends in their respective industries deter them from a booming career path, and they fall victim to unemployment and underemployment. Instead, youth with a lack of theoretical knowledge, but better aptitude achieve their life’s goals rather easily.

There are some of the key skills which add value and help a student to grab the attention of the potential employer in the job market, such as communication skills, self-management, teamwork, adaptability, interpersonal sensitivity, stress management, and time management. Although many people are blessed with one or another type of creativity, there are only a few who realize this as a gift of creative abilities. Therefore, it is the responsibility of educational institutes to nurture their students in a way that enables them to develop their creative juices and find an interesting way to use them.

Besides creative skills, personal and interpersonal skills should also be adapted as a part of the school curriculum, and they should be groomed in parallel to subjects like science, mathematics, social science, and languages. Activities such as group discussions, role-plays, educational games, team projects, and model building are mandatory to sharpen students’ communication, team management, and leadership skills. Such engaging activities that assure holistic learning for a student should be a regular part of the study and must not be restricted to special days and occasions.

In India, schools have largely adopted an academic-centric model of education. In many schools, the learning process is confined to classrooms only, forgetting that this process is more about gaining facts and less about learning. Therefore, the best way to address this problem is to introduce a proper skill development curriculum, giving children a chance to explore and learn more things beyond the textbooks. This process helps them in understanding team-spirit, inquisitiveness, creativity, trustworthiness, sympathy, co-ordination, assertiveness and much more.

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