The Implementation of Soft Skills in Kosova’s High Schools

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The Implementation of Soft Skills in Kosova’s High Schools

Merita Hyseni, Fatjona Gashi, Syzana Maloku, Blerona Hoxha
Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Philology, University of Prishtina
Received: 09 July 2023; Accepted: 17 July 2023; Published: 31 July 2023

Abstract: – Soft skills are of great importance in one’s education and social interactions. These skills are known to be highly needed and required for employment. Considering the benefits of the acquisition of the soft skills acquisition, the implementation of them in education is a necessity. Due to this, the aim of this research was to investigate where Kosova stands with the implementation of these skills, at the same time which skills are mostly used. Simultaneously aiming to understand Kosovar students’ approaches to these skills. A quantitative questionnaire was used as an instrument for data collection and 115 students from different high schools of different fields of study participated voluntarily in this research. The results of this study show that soft skills are being implemented in Kosova’s education in high schools, however this contradicts with other existing studies conducted in Kosova from different approaches and perspectives. Nevertheless, teamwork results to be implemented the most amongst other soft skills, but it exceeds writings with a close difference of percentage. This paper analyzes and interprets the outcomes of the results, by backing up the arguments with factual sources to answer the two broad questions of the study.

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Key words: soft skills, implementation, Kosova context.

I. Introduction

Soft skills play a major role in everyday life situations, in educational fields, and in one’s employment. These skills refer to a wide group of social and personal traits that enable effective collaboration and facilitate social interactions amongst people (Hora, 2018). Thus, since the importance of the acquisition of these skills is at great extent, many researchers have considered it as an area of interest for their studies. This has led to the current number of studies done in this field in many different countries.
Soft skills include communication, leadership, problem-solving, critical thinking, interpersonal skills, and many more (Canney & Byrne, 2006), however this research was mainly focused on presentations, writings, critical thinking, teamwork, and debates since they are considered to be the fundamental components of soft skills.
This research aims to analyze the implementation of soft skills in Kosova’s high schools. The current study will try to answer two broad questions: which soft skills, if any, are implemented in Kosova’s high schools and simultaneously discover students’ experiences and perceptions of these skills. While many countries pay great attention to soft skills, respectively to the incorporation of these skills in education, the researchers of this study tried to shed light on the aspect of education in Kosova’s context. Considering the fact that Kosova is in an ongoing development, this research can play an important role in addressing the issue of well understanding the key role of soft skills by students of high school.

II. Literature Review

Soft skills are attributes that characterize and form one’s personality (Kenton & Abbott, 2019; Schulz, 2008), and include many types of skills, competencies, behaviors, and personal qualities which facilitate the relationship among people and make them more flexible for various situations (Lippman, Ryberg, Carney, Moore, & Trends, 2015). These skills are usually underestimated by the majority of people when put along with hard skills by evaluating them as easy skills to be learned, while in fact these skills are more complex than thought to be (Willmot & Colman, 2016). These skills are apparently being introduced mostly in university as skills needed to prepare students for the labour market and a lack of implementation of them is seen in primary and secondary school, and also in high school. However, as pointed out above, these skills are not easy to be learned, one needs time and practice to acquire and improve them, in contrast to hard skills which can be learned theoretically. Thus, individuals must be introduced to soft skills at an early stage of life, starting from the family environment and early at primary school (Cimatti, 2016). Ideally, soft skills should be introduced to pupils of primary school in a more general aspect, adapting them to their level of acquisition, thus they can be familiar with these skills and would be able to express their thoughts better by increasing students’ confidence. Once they become familiar with soft skills, it would be easier for them to develop and master the skills during high school, which then are needed for their future studies and required for their future possible employment. Also Schultz (2008) agrees that these skills increase students’ performance in their professional career, and academically in different programs of studies (Sejzi, Aris, & Yuh, 2013; Premuzic, Arteche, Bremner, Greven, & Furnham, 2010). However, despite the importance that these skills hold, many studies show that there is a gap in implementing soft skills in education. Very often the curricula are mostly focused on teaching hard skills, thus leaving less or no space at all for a possibility of incorporating soft skills in teaching methodologies (Schultz, 2008).