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Digital media skills essential for 21st century workforce

03 Apr 2014

New Zealand and Australian educators agree that digital media skills are essential for employability, says an Adobe study presented at this week’s 9th annual Adobe Education Leadership Forum held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The 'Education, Creativity and Employability' study, conducted in 1531 educators including 498 from Australia and New Zealand, revealed that 68% of educators strongly agree that basic digital media skills are an essential requirement for the 21st century workforce.

Furthermore, 49% of educators agreed that students proficient in digital media skills have a competitive edge over their less skilled counterparts, and therefore have a higher likelihood of being recruited.

The study also found that 58% of educators felt that creative tools assist students in gaining a better grasp of theoretical concepts, enhancing their overall understanding in the classroom.

Conversely, findings also showed that 38% of educators said that their current education system does not place an emphasis on creative expression. The implication of this is that students may not gain the necessary skills required for the modern workplace.

Interestingly, while both Australian and South Korean educators agreed there was a gap in the integration of creativity into academics, Australian educators were certain of the importance of digital media skills and creative tools, whereas South Korean educators were not as strongly convinced.

“Today we understand that the convergence of academic and creative competencies is helping create new opportunities for a whole new digital workforce,” comments Peter McAlpine, Senior Director, Education, Adobe Asia Pacific.

“However, as the study highlights, our challenge now is to bridge the gap that currently exists in our education system and to bring the two closer. It’s time for us as educators to come together and define how to enable this shift, ensuring that students are not only equipped to be consumers of digital content but also to be creators of that content.”

The 'Education, Creativity and Employability' study is an internet-based survey conducted in K-12 to higher education educators in 13 countries across the Asia Pacific region; Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The aim was to gauge the importance of creativity in education and its role in building a digitally able workforce.