21st Century Education Skills Every Student Should Know

21st Century Education Skills Every Student Should Know

Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Education is about more than the specific subjects you learn in school and college. Over time, it has evolved to include crucial skills we require to survive in the world. Today, educators aim to help their students learn new-age skills that allow them to succeed once they enter the corporate world.

What Are 21st-Century Learning Skills?

Educators today have created a list of 21st-century or new-age learning skills that students must learn in the classroom. These skills include critical thinking and media literacy, which are crucial in our digital age.

These skills are beneficial as:

Employers Value Soft Skills

The new-age skills taught in schools are soft skills. Several business leaders cite soft skills as the driving factor behind success in the workplace.

They Help Navigate the Internet Age

We live in a digital world. Touchscreens allow us to interact with knowledge and educators from around the world. The educational skills taught in schools should empower students to process and analyse all available information.

They Priorities Application of Knowledge

Initially, schools and colleges focused on the transfer of knowledge from educators to learners. Things have now changed. Educators now encourage students to apply what they learn in everyday scenarios. New-age education skills help them deal with complex problems through knowledge application.

What Are the Important 21st Century Skills?

There are 12 21st-century skills that educators priorities. They fall under three broader categories – Learning Skills, Literacy Skills, and Life Skills.

Learning Skills

Also known as the four C’s, these universal skills can help boost any career. The skills are:

Critical Thinking

The skill enables learners to find solutions to various problems. Students can figure things out for themselves even without a teacher with this skill. In business settings, it helps managers identify potential issues and solve them.


We often hear teachers ask students to think outside the box. The exercise encourages creativity and forces them to approach every problem from a different perspective. Creativity leads to innovation, which is key to the overall success of an institution.


Working together and achieving compromises helps people arrive at the best possible solution for a problem. Encouraging group work and projects at school and college enables youngsters to master the art of working cohesively towards a common goal.


Communication is the 21st-century skill that ties all the others together. Students must learn how to communicate their ideas effectively. Good communication can prevent misunderstandings in the workplace.

Literacy Skills

These skills are sometimes also called IMT skills for Information literacy, Media literacy, and Technology literacy. They help us navigate the digital world.

Information Literacy

The foundational literacy skill teaches students how to understand the information available online. Crucially, it helps them separate fact from fiction to avoid falling prey to online lies and misconceptions.

Media Literacy

Related to information literacy, this skill helps students identify trustworthy information sources and credible information. Individuals with media literacy skills understand what kinds of media formats and outlets they should ignore or avoid.

Technology Literacy

These skills teach young individuals about the devices we use in the Information Age. Students understand how each device works and what tasks they perform.

Life Skills

The final category is life skills, also known as FLIPS. The five skills that fall under this category are:


Life is unpredictable. Flexibility helps students come up with deviations to their plans as required. Some students struggle to learn flexibility since it’s based on two incredibly uncomfortable ideas. First, the learner must recognise that their way of doing something isn’t always the right way. Additionally, they have to admit when they’re wrong. Flexibility comes with humility and an open mind but is a crucial life skill.


Leadership refers to the ability to set goals and then walk a team through the steps they need to take to achieve them. Individuals from all walks of life must have leadership skills. Students can rely on these skills to lead their colleagues through various challenges once they join the workforce.


Very few people are natural self-starters. Yet, in today’s competitive world, it’s a crucial skill that helps individuals achieve success. Like flexibility, it’s a difficult skill to teach or learn. Initiative involves completing tasks outside of the requirements. For students, it could mean working on an additional project for extra credit. For those in the corporate world, it means taking on more responsibility or working on additional tasks outside regular working hours. These initiatives can help earn rewards and showcases a good work ethic.


Productivity refers to a person’s ability to complete tasks efficiently within a given time. People may work eight hours a day but only be productive for two of them. Individuals today strive to become more efficient or finish more in less time. Students must learn productivity strategies and apply them in their everyday lives to boost their productivity.

Social Skills

Social skills include manners, politeness, and etiquette, all of which play a crucial role in today’s world. Learning these skills in an educational setting helps these individuals avoid awkward social situations. Proper social skills enable people to forge long-term relationships and network effectively.

How To Learn 21st-Century Skills

Most higher learning institutions incorporate these life skills into their curriculum as foundation skills. You can gain the required skills regardless of whether you choose to study in India or abroad. If you’re struggling to get the finances together to fund your higher education, you could consider taking loans for students. The funds you receive will help you with tuition fees and the cost of living if you’re moving away from home to study.

As part of your higher education, you must pay attention to all the lessons and imbibe these crucial skills into your life.

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