The 21st century skills

Updated: Mar 31

March 24th, 2021

Nikolas Zetouni


The 21st century skills

Many people are not aware that every period of time in human history had a specific need when it came to education. Just so we don’t go all the way back to ancient Greece, let's talk about the past 50 years. The 80s were all about bringing education to the masses so people could work in factories. The 90s pushed to education individualization and specialization – mainly focusing on higher graduate studies. The 2000’s brought technology into the mix by democratizing computers skills. 2010’s brought a whole new world of technical skills and the emergence of the internet into education. Now the 2020’s are asking for non-technical skills known as 21st century skills. But what are they?

Check out this infographic for an overview.

Credit: Kendra Wack’s blog

You might be wondering…”Where are all the science and engineering I studied?”. They are not there and for good reason. I believe this trend (from technical to creative-social skills) is happening because the market needs are shifting towards an entrepreneurial model. This means: fast growth, customer oriented service, and high performance teams. From my experience working in different industries, employers are taking technical knowledge as granted; they expect their employees to know the minimum. They went to College or University after all. However, employers do not know if the candidate will be a team player or add value to the team. Thus the need for 21st century skills. How does that impact education?

What school teaches vs what the market needs

In all honesty, I do not think this trend will impact education much. At least in North America, 21st century skills are an informal part of the formal education system. Students know about them, they use them every day, but they are not evalua