• Soft skills acquisition for the knowledge economy: a research strategy for policy development in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in intermediate and emergent economies

      Khilji, Nasrallah; Roberts, Stephen A.; University of Bedfordshire; University of West London (EBESWEB, 2021-01-06)
      This paper reports on a programme of study around ‘Soft skills acquisition for the knowledge economy’ and addresses a research strategy for policy development in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in intermediate and emergent economies’. Evidence from Pakistan as an emergent, intermediate economy is reviewed, with respect to preparing the younger generation (and especially graduates) for long term engagement with a knowledge-based economy. Technical and occupational skills continue to provide the base for economic capacity, but the knowledge economy requires new levels of personal and social abilities drawing on all aspects of human communication and interaction, in addition to having the facility to use digital technologies to explore, exploit and use sources of data, information, intelligence and knowledge. These elements are core constituents of ‘soft skills’. The review identifies the need for a research strategy for policy development in TVET in Pakistan. We have identified key parameters and components which need to be incorporated and monitored to assist policy development. In parallel, we are considering the nature of curricula for soft skills development and how these can be developed in practice in a variety of settings. As businesses have entered the knowledge economy they have accepted the need for cultural changes in business and organizations. In the same vein, the pathway to soft skills acquisition for the knowledge economy requires a similar level of cultural change. The results of work on Pakistan produces outcomes which are informative for and transferable to other countries.