According to a new survey by YouSciencea student engagement platform.
The paper, “Addressing the Education Relevance Gap“, is a call to action for educational institutions, businesses, families, students, and community leaders to analyze the state of student engagement and work together to change educational approaches to better meet the needs of students.
If communities take advantage of opportunities to close the relevance gap, students can move from disengaged to motivated, with a deeper understanding of their own natural talents and potential for fulfilling, long-term and in-demand careers, according to the document.
Drawing on the insights of more than 50 years of scientific research and millions of anonymized student data points, the research asserts that many students struggle to find meaning or career direction in their education. This perceived lack of educational relevance can quickly lead to a number of undesirable outcomes, such as high school disengagement, school dropout, long-term underemployment, and inequalities in education and workforce. The research found that approximately 66% of students are not engaged in school.
Students cite the main driver of their struggles in education as the perceived lack of relevance between life and their studies – because much of what they study seems irrelevant when applied to their lives everyday life and their professional prospects. They also don’t understand the practical applications of the material they are learning in the real world. This is called the “relevance gap”.
To close the relevance gap, education and community leaders must first and foremost answer the well-established question that students frequently and repeatedly come up against: “how is this going?” it help me in my life? »
“We should expect, welcome and accept critical questions and student engagement,” said Edson Barton, Founder and CEO of YouScience. “It shows they are paying attention, making inferences from the world around them, and applying critical thinking skills, which are among the top qualities employers say they expect from potential employees.”
In order to close the relevance gap, YouScience argues that we must intentionally align an individual’s abilities to better match their educational and career opportunities. Furthermore, the paper highlights the negative impact of current education dynamics on students and employers, pointing to the “growing mismatch between what students and society need to thrive and what the education is empowered to provide”, particularly in the current economy, where there is a huge unmet need for employees.
The result: a dilemma on two levels. The first level is the lack of information and a curriculum that puts students on the path to in-demand careers that match their natural talents. The second is the fact that the majority (79%) of employers believe that a candidate with the right skills is more important than their major and alma mater. This dichotomy is rarely communicated to students who need this type of guidance, nor placed at the center of their education. As a result, many workers are not showing up with the right skills or knowledge, creating a challenge for employers.
“The crucial question we should be asking is whether we are providing education intertwined with skill-based career guidance. How can we guide students when we ignore their natural abilities and talents? Barton added. “Through this article, we want to start the conversation about the education relevance gap and offer solutions that can help align students’ abilities with personally satisfying educational and career paths.
To combat declining engagement, perceived educational irrelevance, lack of career paths, and opportunity disparities, YouScience offers the following recommendations:
- Help students find their “why”.
- Help students discover what they are good at and match it with what interests them.
- Certify the skills students have acquired so that they and employers know there is a match.
This press release originally appeared online.