Learning job skills

Developing a proactive system to identify prospective needs and prepare graduates for an uncertain future is a major challenge that educational institutions must face by developing linkages with the labor market and tailoring programmes to match their demands. COL's (Commonwealth of Learning) President and CEO, Professor Asha Kanwar spoke about these challenges and other emerging trends in her keynote speech at the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU) 32nd annual conference in Vietnam recently.

In the presentation titled 'Human Resource Development and Lifelong Learning for Open Universities', Professor Kanwar encouraged open universities to strengthen their outreach to wider constituencies, including the unreached, and integrate employability by responding to market needs. She called for more investments in innovative learning and the re-imagining of policies and practices to suit lifelong learners at different stages of their lives.

To prepare learners for employment and entrepreneurship, Professor Kanwar proposed the integration of three essential illiteracy in schools' curricular – human, data and technological. Human literacy will help learners make ethical choices to equip them for social engagement through effective communication.

Data literacy, which is essential in a world driven by technology, will enable learners to find meaning in the flood of existing information. Lastly, technological literacy will help learners to deploy software and hardware in order to maximize their powers to achieve and create.

Founded in 1987, the AAOU is a non-profit organisation of higher learning institutions concerned with open and distance education in Asia.

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