TRADITIONAL pedagogies, abhorrence to innovation and obsolete curriculum obstruct schools and universities from meeting the industry's demands.

The first and the second industrial revolution in Britain, continental Europe, North America, and Japan triggered mass production in the industry requiring the standardised model of direct learning widely used in mainstream education today.

The uniform talent produced was utilised to fill  process-based early manufacturing jobs where innovations, critical thinking and creativity were not prioritised.

The learning mode practiced, say in Pakistan, or in most developing countries, does not prepare students for the real world problems. Hence, they lack the training required to capture a market share of e-commerce and the IT industry in the future, something Pakistan is aiming for with 5G technology.

Despite having a degree, many people underperform and fail to impress potential employers. Either their degrees are not relevant to the job market or they have not acquired the right skillset during their school years.

Government jobs remain the only option where the performance is not the discriminating criteria for progress. These graduates of process-based learning prove to be the worst for jobs requiring out-of-the-inbox thinking like teaching and policymaking.

During a regular class, the teacher arrives at a particular answer using formulas, equations and fundamentals. Students' role is limited to memorising and imitating the same method for solving other similar problems.

Whatever learning happens is accidental. Generally grades are what matter the most, not the skills.

In the past, many international technological and automobile giants have turned down their plans of setting up manufacturing plants in Pakistan because of the lack of required talent. Instead, they opted for India and Bangladesh where the educational institutes produce graduates meeting the industry's demands.

To foster creative thinking, the way forward needs a two-fold strategy; the shift from the ''process-based learning'' to 'problem-based learning' and the stakeholders' concurrent objectives: schools, students and the industry.

Educational institutions should focus on the individual learning traits of the students. Adaptive learning technology should be incorporated to analyse each student's skills' and develop personalised learning pathways.

They must produce graduates who can fulfil the demands of the industry currently and in future. Schools need to be proactive as they prepare students for jobs that do not even exist at the moment.

Education policymaking should be more than political-point-scoring and needs to be visionary, unlike the past.

The World Students Society thanks author Muhammad Ali, Texas, USA.


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