For many years education in India has been classroom confined, instructional, and theoretical based in institutions. It has led to rote learning i.e. memorising theory and concepts repeatedly to learn by the collective conscious. It also means that students would ‘learn’ without really understanding it but for the sake of studying and writing perfect, word-to-word answers in exams. Education and learning of subjects served the purpose mainly to write exams and hence, exams became the parameter to determine who is intelligent and smart. In India, most elements of theory subjects are studied without application and real-life experiences, ignoring skill-based education. This kind of education does not prepare students for the industry and sharpen their skills to use in their future jobs. Only theoretical education gives scope for students to determine their worth and skills through written exams and marks sheets, which is of course not the only case to do so.
Skill-based education on the other hand is an approach where students are required to use their skills, practice, and apply them on their projects and tests. This includes student-centric education and skill-based activity learning. It is a much more engaging way to learn for students. Skills and project-based approaches to education equip students to verbally communicate, deal with problems and solve them practically, analyse situations, think critically, etc. It employs students with a wide range of practical skills and encourages them to excel in all curriculum areas. It emphasises task-based activities which help in the long run. Interdisciplinary methods involving a skill-based education curriculum lead to a holistic environment for students to learn.
As mentioned in ‘Contemporary Curriculum: A Methodological Framework On Skill-Based Education In Language Learning’ Research Paper published in the Journal of Positive School Psychology 2022, Vol. 6, No. 11, 172-176, the benefits of the skill-based approach are:
- It helps the learners to understand the concept in an easier way.
- It promotes analytical skills.
- It connects education with employment expectations.
- It helps the learners to choose their own choices in different ways to build rapport and validate to upgrade their skills.
- It creates technical skills for career development.
- It suggests the learners become lifelong learners and master their skills in all the areas of their language learning.
Skill-based learning helps individuals improve their abilities and be street-smart to live independently in life. Learning never stops in this method and there’s constant scope for improvement which makes the individual industry prepared. While it can be argued that theory and knowledge learnt in the classroom are more important as it creates a fundamental base for future educational pursuits, knowledge and experience learnt through projects and activities make it useful to apply the learnt/known knowledge. It also motivates individuals as one’s skill progress can be witnessed in practical results. Both approaches of learning cannot be implemented isolated from each other but the incorporation of both theoretical and skill-based learning in equal moderation will make it a holistic curriculum for students. There are hopes for improvement in the Indian education system since National Education Policy(NEP) 2020 has given importance to skill-based education which can empower youth and reduce unemployment since they would be equipped with enough skills to create employment opportunities as well.