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Slang Dictionary: 21st-Century Skills

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What Does "21st-Century Skills" Mean

What Does “21st-Century Skills” Mean?

“21st-century skills” refer to a set of abilities, competencies, and knowledge that are considered crucial for individuals to thrive in the modern world, particularly in the context of education and employment. These skills emphasize adaptability, critical thinking, collaboration, and digital literacy, recognizing the rapidly changing demands of the 21st-century global economy.

Related Words

Terms related to “21st-century skills” include:

  • Digital Literacy: The ability to use digital technologies effectively, a key component of 21st-century skills.
  • STEM Education: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education, often integrated into curricula to foster 21st-century skills.
  • Soft Skills: Non-technical skills like communication, teamwork, and adaptability, which are vital in the 21st-century workforce.

Where Does This Word Come From?

The term “21st-century skills” emerged as a response to the changing landscape of work and education in the digital age. The rapid advancement of technology and globalization have reshaped the skills and knowledge needed to succeed. Educators, policymakers, and employers recognized the importance of preparing individuals with the abilities required to navigate this evolving environment.

Who Uses This Word?

“21st-century skills” is used by educators, employers, policymakers, and researchers who seek to enhance educational curricula and workplace practices to meet the demands of the modern world. It’s a term commonly found in discussions about educational reform and workforce development.

Examples of Using This Word

Here are a few examples of how “21st-century skills” might be used:

“Our school’s curriculum places a strong emphasis on fostering 21st-century skills to prepare students for the future.”

“Employers value candidates who possess 21st-century skills such as adaptability and problem-solving.”

What to Replace This Word With in Academic Writing

In academic writing, “21st-century skills” can be replaced with “modern competencies” or “contemporary proficiencies” to maintain formal language while conveying the same idea. These alternatives are suitable for scholarly texts.

Famous Quote

As Barack Obama once said:

“In a world that’s more interconnected than ever, we need to equip our kids with the 21st-century skills they need to succeed.”


“21st-century skills” represent a critical concept in modern education and employment. These skills reflect the evolving demands of the digital age and the need for individuals to adapt, think critically, and collaborate effectively. As the world continues to change, the development of 21st-century skills remains essential for success in education, the workforce, and society at large.