"An insight into how the real world functions can hold them in good stead, " says Rajesh Bhatia, founder of preschool chain TreeHouse Education
Even before the pandemic hit the world, children all over the world were facing a slew of problems ranging from excessive rote learning to inadequate infrastructure, educational inequity, outmoded syllabi, stress due to unrealistic performance yardsticks and a lot more. Post the pandemic, they had to deal with anxiety of not knowing when their schools and colleges would open, coping with a digital divide in many instances and the absence of chalk and talk modules where they once interacted with their peers and educators. Rajesh Bhatia, an education expert and founder of the online preschool chain, 'TreeHouse' says, "The world of education as we know it has changed and even if the pandemic is conquered eventually, online modules will remain intrinsic to how we teach and learn."
India is a young nation with the number of Indians in the 15-24 age group almost touching the 229 million mark and the idea that a large percentage of this population will remain unskilled and unemployable is daunting. What can we do to maximise this demographic dividend and enhance employability is the question considering over 90 per cent of employment opportunities require vocational skills. Post the pandemic, digital skill sets are in great demand and multi-skilled workers are needed by developing as well as developed countries. In such a scenario, skill development and training are of paramount importance.
Rajesh Bhatia believes that in a world increasingly relying on fast digital transformation and automation to do jobs that once required human interaction, conventional education will also need to go through a certain shift. The youth may be tech savvy but there is a huge big gap between academic degrees and employability. Colleges give degrees but no insight into how various industries function. Says Rajesh Bhatia, "That is why at TreeHouse, we have initiated certification courses for students between 11-18 years of age who can learn about what professionals actually do in fields like hospitality, banking, Law, aviation and E-commerce. The idea is to bring them up to speed even before they choose a particular field.
At school level, if options are available for skill development courses, they can give students an insight into various industries with the help of practical pedagogy, field visits, digital and video modules. To look beyond grades and focus on preparing multifaceted global citizens is the need of the hour. "
Rajesh Bhatia also thinks that parents should expose their children to various fields, hobbies and skill sets so that they can automatically gravitate towards vocations that give them joy. The world, he reminds, needs more skilled professionals who can make businesses and industries run seamlessly, find solutions as well as transformative breakthroughs. This is why the sooner they discover the thrill of skilling themselves, the more benefits they will reap in the job market of the future.
E-learning has also received much attention in Budget 2022 and all over the world, the interest in online learning and certification courses is increasing. Taking online courses at the school level is also much more cost-effective than doing a course from scratch post a degree. Digital learning takes away the stress of commuting and physically scouting for the perfectly located educational space and also offers a multiplicity of courses that your child can opt for with just a click. This kind of learning has the structure and the flexibility that the next generation need to be future ready.