It is important to focus on skill development along with academic excellence," says Rajesh Bhatia

 - Sakshi Post

_The educationist and founder of the TreeHouse chain of schools believes skill-based learning will prepare students to be employable and not just educated_
To underscore the importance of skill-based learning and the need for more Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions for the youth across the world, The United Nations General Assembly has declared July 15 as World Youth Skills Day.  

Educationist and founder of TreeHouse chain of schools, Rajesh Bhatia says, "I have always been inspired by the Finnish model of education where they impart a multitude of skills, apart from academic knowledge. It has hence been very important for me to introduce new educational methods and skill development modules at TreeHouse. Of course, we emphasise upon academic excellence but students need a lot more to be employable globally. The world is changing very fast and conventional degrees can educate students but not necessarily give them the skills needed by employers." 

He cites a 2021 report by McKinsey & Company and states, "87% of companies already have skill gaps or will face such challenges in the years to come. I was also alarmed by the NASSCOM study in 2019 that only 2.5 lakhs of Indian engineers are employable of the 15 lakh students graduating each year. In 2021, the International Labour Organisation also noted that various job positions remained unfilled due to the lack of skills across even traditional sectors like banking and financial services, telecommunications, pharma, and healthcare and infrastructure. When newer technologies like AI, Data Science, Cyber Security, Blockchain, and UX design are evolving each day,  graduates need to upskill themselves constantly."

This is why in 2021, Bhatia ideated and introduced life skill courses in banking, aviation, hospitality, E-Commerce, Law, and Business Management at TreeHouse. He says, "Across ten weekly sessions, we teach students the operational nuances involved in these sectors and give them an insight into the skills required and the available career opportunities. Even in the lower classes, younger children should be familiarised with life skills as they help in enhancing cognitive and problem-solving abilities and sharpen divergent thinking," says Bhatia. 
Rajesh hopes that the New Education Policy (NEP) will boost skill development and increase employability.  He concludes, "A multidisciplinary approach shapes a child’s leadership skills along with honing soft skills such as communication and resilience. If implemented efficiently and equally across the rural and urban sectors, the policy will truly go a long way in making the most of our demographic dividend."

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