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The transition of students into employable leaders of tomorrow

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Education is a fundamental factor for development. It improves the quality of life by raising people’s productivity and creativity and promotes entrepreneurship and technological advances. Education plays a crucial role in securing economic and social progress and improving income distribution. However, traditional teaching models will no longer prepare students for jobs of tomorrow or to become adequate leaders. Many higher education institutions, like MANCOSA, have now shifted their focus on employability as an integral part of the learning process,

Unemployment a challenge in South Africa

According to the Stats SA’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the first quarter of 2022, the unemployment rate was 63,9% for those aged 15-24 and 42,1% for those aged 25-34 years, while the current official national rate stands at 34,5%.Youth unemployment is one of the country’s greatest challenges and has been intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Employability of graduates plays a vital role in their transformation. Increasingly, employers are demanding skills from graduates which are outside the subject area of study. Some employers have resorted to placing less importance on a graduate’s actual degree discipline, instead favouring the more generic skills and leadership attributes. The move towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is technologically-focused, and the uncertainty around it puts pressure on the readiness of graduates. Therefore, higher education institutions need to provide young graduates with the tools to become employable, all-inclusive professionals who stand a chance to be accepted by the world of work. This is the only way we can present a positive perspective on youth and employability in South Africa. There must be a move from emphasising graduates to accentuating leaders of tomorrow. The pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives and has highlighted the fact that higher education does not need to take place in a classroom, and neither does it have to be in a traditional “lecture” format. Passing examinations on the strength of rote learning without understanding the subject matter and the practical relevance of it in industry, fails in the development of intellectual creativity needed for problem-solving; independent thinking; conflict resolution through effective negotiations; and such other 21st century skills which employers currently pursue. However, increase in access to the latest tutoring and techniques through blended learning should help bring about a paradigm shift in providing a feel for a more innovative eco-system and should produce employable and skilled graduates that are suitable. During COVID and the following months, MANCOSA saw thousands of university students studying virtually from home, completing both undergraduate and postgraduate studies, determined to complete their academic year. Virtual learning no longer means learning in isolation with no support. The COVID-19 pandemic with its lockdown regulations has shown that learning virtually can be interactive, meaningful and effective. At MANCOSA private higher education institution, the support towards students has been in the form of virtual open days, virtual graduations and live tutor support functions.

The rise of online learning

The rise of online learning options and the use of e-learning and blended learning, along with cognitive and emotional intelligence, are pivotal during this period of transformation to prepare students to become leaders of tomorrow. There is the need to advocate leadership, along with a blend of technology in the learning process, to instil value that transforms students into leaders of tomorrow.

Complete your undergraduate or postgraduate studies with MANCOSA

MANCOSA, a leading provider of management programmes through supported distance learning in Southern Africa, which is ranked among the 10 best MBAs in Africa. A member of Honoris United Universities offers many undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Register your interest online or you can direct queries to 031 300 7200.

By Nikita Reddy (MANCOSA Academic)

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