Jepulin Das Assistant Teacher, Satpakhali M.V.S, Rampur block, Kamrup
Jepulin Das

The '21st century skills' is the term that has been come across very often in the field of education in recent years. The NEP 2020 has also stressed upon the acquisition of the 21st century skills for holistic development of the learners. The policy treated education as a means through which India should achieve its rightful place in the world – both as an 'economic' and 'knowledge' super power. As we go throw the education policy, it also considers the 21st century skills as a means to achieve the dream of 'New India' with its new expectations and new requirements. Our honourable P. M. Sri N.Modi, in his speech on NEP 2020 said, "We have to advance our students with 21st-century skills." In view of above circumstances, it is felt necessary for the educators who are bearing the herculean and the most noble task of moulding the future generation of the nation to be acquainted with this term.

The energetic youth are the engines of development of a country, but their development should be proper in the right direction right from their childhood. In the last three decades, there hardly any aspect of our life remained the same, yet our education system is still running under the old system until NEP 2020 which laid stressed upon a new way of teaching and learning by stressing on the development of the 21st century skills. With the onset of the 21st century, the entire world has witnessed on an era of intense transformation in all areas -whether it is education, global trade and economy, technology or society. To be a productive member of the society and to cope-up with the new age challenges a different skill-set is required that will help each individual to develop holistically. It is to be noted that, the development of society, nation and the world at large depends on developed individuals and vice-versa. The skills that an individua should master to cope-up with the challenges in real life situations leading to his holistic development are called 21st century skills. The 21st century skills are 12 abilities that today's students need to succeed in their careers during this age of information and technology. These skills are intended to help students keep up with the lightening-pace of today's modern competitive world.


The Glossary of Education defines 21st century skills as-

"The term 21st century skills refer to a broad set of knowledge, skills, work habits and character traits that are believed – by educators, school reformers, college professors, employees and others- to be critically important to success in today's world."

An overview of the historical development of these skills leads to the following types of classifications. The 21st century skills broadly consist of three main skill sets or 3 Ls –

  1. Learning skills- Skills required for the acquisition of new knowledge.
  2. Life skills- Skill that help in creating and gaining new knowledge through reading, media and digital resources.
  3. Literacy skills – skills that are required for successfully leading everyday life.

The diagram below will help to understand these classifications even further-


  • 4Cs: Critical thinking, Creativity and innovation, Collaboration, Communication
  • IMT: Information Literacy, Media Literacy, Technology Literacy
  • FLIPS : Flexibility and Adaptability, Leadership and Responsibility, Initiative and Self – Direction, Productivity, Social and Cross-Cultural Interaction

These are only the broad classifications. There are many sub skills that fall under these broad classifications. It should be taken into account that, the 21st century skills are a wide range of knowledge and skills that are neither easy to define precisely nor they have been officially categorized. To speak in the simplest form, 21st century skills are the most relevant useful, and universally applicable skills. The fundamental idea is that, the learners of 21st century are needed to taught different skills than those 20th century skills and that the skills they learn should meet the specific demands of today's complex, competitive, knowledge-based, information-thrived, technology driven economy and society.