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The importance of investing in students’ capabilities

ILO report
With regards to the ILO report, what does the future hold for students? Source: Lycs Architecture/Unsplash

A necessity for universities the world over, investing in students’ capabilities is a fundamental focus for any educator.

By investing in a learner’s future, these institutions simultaneously advance the prosperity and progress of the planet.

It’s no longer an option to be stuck within traditional frameworks of learning. Instead, employers seek students with global minds and skills that fit nicely into the future of work.

In line with the latest International Labour Organization (ILO) report, named Work for a Brighter Future: Report of the Global Commission on the Future of Work, one of the three main pillars of action is ‘Increasing investment in people’s capabilities’.

Transferring the prospect to the global education sphere, there are four key points universities should consider while restyling their syllabus or boosting their international student outreach with a curriculum overhaul.

1. A universal entitlement to lifelong learning

According to the report, “Lifelong learning encompasses formal and informal learning from early childhood and basic education through to adult learning. A universal entitlement to lifelong learning will enable people to skill, reskill and upskill.”

Regardless of age, universities should welcome international students from all walks of life and stages of career. Learning shouldn’t be capped at a certain age, but should be continuously encouraged by all academic institutions.

Endorsing the practice of lifelong learning, age-friendly universities are on the rise, but growth must continue to solidify the ILO’s recommendation of universal entitlement.

2. Support people through future of work transitions

The second point made by the ILO states that “Young people will need help in navigating the increasingly difficult transition from school to work and older workers will need expanded choices that enable them to remain economically active for as long as they choose and to create a lifelong active society.”

After implementing age-friendly learning initiatives and youth education support services, universities must continue to support students through all work transitions.

Equipping them for the next new trends and preparing them for rejuvenated work expectations, support mustn’t stop at the graduation gate.

Alumni ties must remain strong and regular support sessions should be in place for a university to support people through changes and to ensure that student learning doesn’t fall behind.

3. A transformative agenda for gender equality

Closing the gender gap in workplaces is of utmost importance to most universities and employers.

That’s why the third factor from the ILO report refers to a transformative agenda for gender equality.

“Strengthening women’s voices and leadership, eliminating violence and harassment at work and instituting pay transparency policies are preconditions for gender equality. Specific measures are also needed to address gender equality in the technology-enabled jobs of tomorrow,” the ILO explains.

By improving gender equality across universities and promoting an equal balance of learners in all courses, there’s hope that employers will soon follow suit.

4. Strengthening social protection

In the final recommendation from the ILO’s first pillar, the organisation believes that the future of work requires a strong, responsive social protection system based on the principles of solidarity and risk-sharing.

“This calls for a social protection floor that provides a basic level of protection to everyone in need, complemented by contributory social insurance schemes that provide increased levels of protection,” says the ILO report.

Guaranteed universal social protection from birth to old age would ensure continuous workplace success and would leave a positive imprint on an employee’s professional career.

Combining all four recommendations, universities around the world can envision a clearer image of what the future holds for students.

By treating each factor with sincere focus and consideration, students will gain a better investment in their future, at the same time as universities stabilise theirs

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