The training and education system and the skills needed for jobs offered by industry are immensely distinct. The students do not get a career pathway due to inappropriate training rendering them unemployable and the organizations face lack of efficient workforce thus increasing their costs. It is a challenge to bridge this gap.
Some educational degrees provide entry in occupations that are often guided by professional associations and their strategic links to educational institutes and government. Others are designed to give students the right skills, but not leading to a bright career, and often confusing them as to where their new qualification will take them. There are numerous reasons for the widening gap between education and industry requirements.
1.Expensive higher education often forbids the students from studying further. They do not get the required training. Some are already engaged in small jobs and cannot devote time. Some are not interested in studying further and see no benefit of this training for jobs.
2.Very few students have a clear vision of what they want in life and accordingly choose a field of study. Most of them are guided by family and peer pressure and make wrong choices. This ultimately leads to below standard performance in their work-life.
3.Employers believe that graduates are inadequately prepared for jobs. They do not view education at par with the industry requirements. Educators believe that they have fully equipped and aligned the student with the job and made them fit to meet the challenges.
4.Jobs are often not related to the field of study. Due to paucity of jobs, the student is forced to take up any opportunity that comes his way. His educational qualification has a mismatch with job requirements. He is in a constant struggle to strike a balance between his knowledge and performance leading to unhealthy competition to prove his mantle.
5.Students do not see classroom as a place for getting them ready for a job. Our education system emphasizes on theoretical knowledge with little exposure to practical approach. Students avoid classroom teaching and some have their own preoccupations.
6.The graduates passing out from colleges are not prepared to even get selected for entry level jobs. These jobs remain unfilled and the problem of unemployment intensifies.
7.The educational institutions follow their set curriculum and overlook the industry requirements. The courses are often designed by affiliating bodies and academicians who may have little knowledge of present requirements. There is no collaboration between schools and businesses to upgrade the curriculum.
8.Colleges and regular training programs concentrate on the technical side, but the real gap is on the non-technical side. Employers in present times are able to hire people possessing the right specialization and experience. But more required are the skills which are lacking in these specialists.
The core business skills, including reliability, teamwork and entrepreneurship and communication skills, above technical ability are proven skills for earmarked performance. The new entrants must understand that professional and ethical responsibilities and the ability to work in a team are important along with the ability to communicate and express ideas. It is important to be a good speaker but all the more important to be a good listener. Hands on training in the field of study improve performance. Written Communication, problem solving and the ability to take decisions in varied circumstances enhance confidence. Soft skills enhance the ability to empathize, socialize and negotiate interpersonal relationships.
Role of Organizations and Educational Institutions in Bridging the Gap
Some organizations have redesigned their training programs to lay emphasis on non-technical aspects thereby helping the students to adjust to a work environment. The real business opportunity for on-campus training centers lies beyond the metros, in small cities and towns that have huge growth potential. But they lack qualified and experienced staff and well-equipped facilities of metros. It is a prime responsibility of the industries to set up training centers in such areas and search for talent. The students in these areas will find it helpful and will be more motivated as people from outside are come and train them using different techniques.
The basic training program should train the student to map future with present and act accordingly. The institutions must tie up with those companies where, there is a scope for fresher graduates to pursue their career. Additional courses proportional to employer norms must be taught to students, thus supporting them to qualify and clear the interview process. At times, students need to spend little money to get acquainted with relevant skills rather than depending upon the curriculum taught by respective universities which may not be at par with industry process. Such program will always have a positive impact on employability and more needs to be done to improve the system of education and bridge the skills gap. It is important to give more autonomy to educational institutions and tie-ups with industry to increase their ability to respond to labor market needs.
Some students want to be entrepreneurs. Education should be a hotbed for innovative and ambitious enterprise. Entrepreneurs who are still in college or students who want to branch out into enterprise are frustrated by practical restrictions imposed by the institutions. They will be better able to realize their dreams if appropriate measures are taken to link education to the needs of enterprise, teaching them entrepreneurial skills, including an insight in the market and negotiating skills, abolishing restrictions for students running their own business, enabling business to make better use of expertise available at universities, training students to become qualified professionals, following a stricter study regime, closing the gap between education and the labor market and collaboration with top sectors.
Dr. Ashu Singh
Dr. Ashu Singh, a doctorate in Commerce has two decades of teaching experience in various management institutions. She holds an MBA degree in HR and Marketing and M.Phil in Education. Presently she is working as Director in Lingaya's Lalita Devi Institute of Management and Science.