ACCORDING to The Future of Jobs and Skills report conducted by the World Economic Forum, the most in-demand occupations found today did not exist 10 or even five years ago.
Furthermore, the pace of change is set to accelerate. The report estimates that 65% of children entering primary school today will end up working in completely new job types that do not currently exist.
Although the world is bracing itself for the influx of jobs of the future as we welcome the Fourth Industrial Revolution, South African youth are still vulnerable in the labour market. With the youth unemployment rate sitting at 38.2%, more than one in every three young people in the workforce did not have a job in the first quarter of 2018, according to Statistics SA.
The reality, however, is that youth unemployment is not unique to South Africa, but is a global phenomenon. The International Labour Organisation places the global number of unemployed youth, aged 15-24 at 71 million in 2017, with many of them facing long-term unemployment.
Confidence in numbers
To turn the tide of unemployment by creating employable youth, it is imperative that classrooms are redesigned to become conducive learning environments.
STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) enable the classroom environment to transform into an incubation hub. Here students’ minds are stimulated to think innovatively and critically when tackling engineering or technological problems through imaginative designs and creative approaches.
However, the adoption of STEAM subjects by students is not without its fair share of challenges.
A new Confidence in Learning poll has highlighted the lack of confidence shown by students in the classroom. The study found that students need a hands-on approach to learning in order to build confidence and improve educational outcomes that prepare them for the future.
The survey found that 51% of students expressed nervousness when trying new subjects at school. Adding to that, an even lower number of students (17%), were confident when it comes to learning STEAM subjects.
Anxiety and a lack of confidence were recognised as the key challenges by 76% of teachers, hindering the learning process among their students.
When asked about viable solutions to this pressing challenge, 95% of teachers said that hands-on learning built students’ confidence.
About 87% of students agreed, saying that learning through hands-on projects allowed them to remember the topics for longer.
An even higher percentage of students, 89%, said that hands-on classroom activities helped them understand these new subjects better. As a result of this, 91% of teachers said they would like to integrate more hands-on lessons in their classroom
The survey indicates the importance of adopting a hands-on approach to learning, which ultimately leads to improved confidence when learning STEAM subjects.
As far as STEAM learning goes, teachers and parents agree that the best method for students to build confidence is by working on a hands-on project with others.
In this environment, students are able to be active, collaborate with one another and build skills that will prepare them for the future.
South Africa, and many other countries, faces a STEAM skills shortage. It is a shortage that impacts on the overall success of the country’s future workforce.
When these students are immersed in a classroom that uses hands-on tools, such as LEGO bricks and coding, their natural curiosity can be ignited, analytical capabilities sharpened and their creativity unleashed.
In doing so, they can succeed in their STEAM classes today and realise their full potential as digital citizens and leaders of tomorrow.
Given South Africa’s low employment rate, the adoption of STEAM subjects at high school level needs to be encouraged. In doing so, the youth can gain the necessary skill sets to become modern-day scientists, engineers and software developers – and even go on to become future drone pilots, IoT architects and virtual reality engineers.
Supplied by WE Communications