21st Century Skills

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The education system must address new areas by teaching the fundamental elements of computational thinking, the fundamentals of artificial intelligence and the discipline of computer science, including programming.

Students should understand how machines work and how to program them to solve the most important problems.. New fundamental skills can no longer be ignored or available only to a privileged few.


Even if it were possible to make these changes (the "how to teach") in all schools, schools still need to update what to teach to adapt to the new skills and competencies that this new economy requires and prioritizes. Beyond basic skills deficits in literacy and numeracy, which affect one in six adults (OECD, 2013), technology-driven transformations are giving rise to new skills gaps.

Advanced social and emotional skills


As machines perform more tasks in the workplace (assembling devices, drafting legal contracts, calculating taxes, etc...), humans must capitalize on their skills and consider how these can best complement the automated assistance provided by machines.


Google's Project Oxygen turned conventional wisdom on its head when researchers analyzed a mountain of data from its human resources on the characteristics of the most success-oriented employees.

Among the most relevant characteristics they found were:

  1. Offer mentoring to others
  2. Communication skills
  3. Understanding cultural differences
  4. Empathy
  5. Critical thinking and problem solving


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Advanced cognitive skills

The top 5 skills in the Google study were all social and emotional in nature, the rest were advanced cognitive skills, i.e., being a good critical thinker, a problem solver and being able to make connections between complex ideas.

These types of skills will become increasingly important as economies move from being driven by employers who hire workers on time to being driven by more nimble employers who hire based on demand.

In this new gig economy (economy of small jobs), people are employed on a project or assignment basis.. This type of sporadic employment is growing rapidly. For some, it is no longer a question of "earning extra money", but rather that this employment represents their main source of income.

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