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Microsoft survey: The top skills students need for the future workplace

16 Nov 2016

Transforming learning for the digital era has been the top agenda at this year’s Bett Asia 2016 summit.

Leading policymakers, educators and researchers from across Asia Pacific (APAC) have gathered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to see just what is brewing for the future in these disruptive times of digitisation.

At the conference, Microsoft released the findings from a new survey of almost 1,000 schools across APAC to express the challenges and opportunities that educators have identified in optimising tech for the classroom – as well as the skillsets required to succeed.

Entitled ‘Driving Transformation in Education’, the survey found that the challenges in optimising tech for the classroom cannot be overcome without the steady support of school leaders and decision makers. Teachers want to be involved in the strategies and policies, as they are the ones executing them in the classrooms.

Some of the key findings included:

  • The biggest factor need to successfully transform teaching and learning experiences was educator skill sets – particularly being trained to optimise tech in the classroom
  • 1 in 3 respondents believed that that are currently unable to equip students with the skills needed to succeed in the future workplace with their current school curriculum and ways of teaching
  • The most important skills that educators rank as required for students included problem solving (71%), skilled communication (68%), collaboration with others (61%), digital media literacy (57%) and data analytics & visualisation (56%)
  • 91% of respondents believe will not be able to adopt to the changing workforce requirements and skills with low digital literacy

Microsoft vice president of Worldwide Education, Anthony Salcito spoke about how many schools are facing a common issue, with technology the natural solution.

“There is a focus on training teachers and readying them for use of technology but without a foundation set for the long-term vision of how it can impact their students’ learning outcomes,” Salcito says. “Creating a strong foundation and casting a vision for how schools can truly improve their students’ learning outcomes, graduation rates and success for the future is the most successful starting point.

Microsoft APAC Education Lead, Don Carlson shared Salcito’s sentiments, asserting that the transition from education to employment continues to one of the main obstacles facing youth – especially in the APAC.

“It is important for us to equip educators with the right tools, enable access to training, and bridge the technological challenges they are facing to drive transformation and learning efficiencies for impactful outcomes,” Carlson says.

What became clear from the conference, is that while technology cannot replace great teaching, it can make greater teachers even better.

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