G. Georgiou

University of Cyprus (CYPRUS)
It is commonly acceptable that the development and reinforcement of the generic skills guide people to a more active role in the society; contributing in that way to their personal development and increase of their working performance. The latter will be set a point of reference for the following discussion. Future workers should develop skills such as creativeness, ability to solve complex problems, cooperation and many others which are considered very important for the development of the professionalism in the work context. The role of higher education institutions is to provide those important skills to educators through their programs in order to achieve the success in the market world.

Problematic labor performance and lack of qualifications by the workers are often regarded as a result of an insufficient input provided by the higher education institutions.

Higher institutions, such as universities and colleges, are obliged to cultivate the development of the generic skills which claim the activation of both mental and physical processes. The integration of a humanistic and technocratic education is needed in order to fulfill the development of those skills. The institutions curricula must be formed with such a way for the successful labor performance to be resulted.

The points below make explicit the direction that the curricula have to follow for the cultivation and reinforcement of the generic skills:
(a) A research to be conducted by the institutions is needed in order to find the most relevant generic skills for the market needs.
(b) The generic skills must be placed in a hierarchical pyramid. Emphasis must be given to the skills at the top of the pyramid– which emphases the importance of the skill.
(c) Flexibility in the curriculum is required. Curricula have to be flexible and follow the market tends which are changing rapidly. Moreover, they must cultivate the workers’ ability to be flexible and adapt to the rapid market changes.
(d) Teachers and students should cooperate and seek for the learning outcomes of the study programs. Detailed learning outcomes containing knowledge and skills must be included in the curricula.

Teacher’s instruction plays an important role to the development of the generic skills. The teaching strategies must be innovative and divert from the traditional ones. Here are some of the strategies that are able to reinforce the generic skills of the students and future workers:
(a) Beside the curriculum declarations teachers have to exploit their teaching autonomy and apply more student-centered lectures rather than teacher-centered ones.
(b) The role of the teacher has to be characterized as active. The teacher has to boost the dialogue between students and let them express their opinion freely having the opportunity to dispute him/her if they want so. With this way critical thinking is cultivated.
(c) Cultivation of metacognitive skills. Teacher has to transfer those skills to students in order to check that they learn and understand the mechanisms that activated in order to learn them.
(d) Use of technology. Research has shown that the use of technology helps students learn better and gain interest for the lecture.
(e) The taught generic skills have to apply to the context of the real world.
(f) The application of the cooperative learning comprise of an important teaching strategy that increases the generic skills.