"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world," ï¿½ Nelson Mandela.
A sound education dispels ignorance and prepares an individual to take on the world. This intrinsic value not withstanding; in today's volatile economic scenario, the real worth of people's education is assessed by their ability to secure steady employment. In India, despite an increase in literacy rate to the current 74 percent and the growing population of educated youth, employment continues to be a challenge. According to the National Skill Development Corporation in 2013, 363,789 people in India were trained and 256,166 people were placed. However, a whopping 8.5 million Indians still require training before they find an employment. Here are a few of the factors that contribute greatly to this rising gap between education and employment.
Evident gap between formal education and relevant job skills:
The efficacy of education and its manifestation in the professional life depend mainly on the process of teaching. For a very long time, a major gap has been identified between the education system and the skills/knowledge required in the industry. This is a direct result of using outdated syllabi and primitive teaching methods which are not in sync with the industry expectations.
A study conducted by the "National Employability Report-Graduates 2013" reveals that nearly half of the graduates in India are not fit for employment; and highlights the drawbacks in the education system as a contributing factor. Age-old teaching and examination methods currently being used in India restrict students in maximizing their learning experience and realizing their true potential. The rote learning method is still prevalent, where students are simply fed with information. This system of learning fails to equip students with analytical skills or the ability to apply what they have learnt. Educational institutions are not up-to-date in incorporating advanced technology as teaching aides, be it visual presentations instead of textbooks or making educational materials available on cloud technology round the clock for reference.
Making people job-ready:
Indian economy has grown tremendously in the area of leveraging technology to boost business. Skills and techniques are gradually becoming obsolete as the environment is continuously evolving. Thus, it is crucial for the talent pool to keep updating their technical know-how on an ongoing basis. Today, it is very common for companies to first train their young and entry-level staff with industry relevant technical skills before accelerating them to higher job responsibilities. Educational institutions need to understand this need of the hour, and step up measures to equip students with an understanding of the bigger picture and industry requirements. Students of today are the future of our businesses and will bring in the success and revenues with their multi-faceted skills and competence. However, they need the competitive advantage of a sound and relevant education.
Despites unpredictability of the business economy, companies in India continue to hire skilled people. There has always been a demand for good talent and will remain high in the times to come.
The "innovation factor":
In addition to the right work ethic and attitude, out-of-the-box thinking and confidence to experiment with new ideas are key attributes sought in a talent. These are distinguishing elements in today's highly competitive scenario, and employers are looking for people who can stand out in the crowd. These people prove to be assets for the company and bring in business. It is for this particular reason that companies no longer hire people with experience only in the relevant industry. They prefer cross-functional expertise. It is important to have diverse, yet specialized skill-sets. This approach allows the circulation of a diverse pool of knowledge and competent talent in the organization.
For a long-term stability and a significant rise in the standards of the budding talent pool, a two-fold approach is required: improvement of the education system in India and encouraging youngsters to develop a niche set of skills. Educational institutions, on their part, need to update their syllabi to include the most industry-relevant information. They also need to hire highly qualified professionals to teach and provide opportunities so that students obtain industrial experience while they are still in college. Students need to be constantly motivated to develop proficiency in specialized areas through trainings rather than obtaining a college degree only for credentials. In essence, the collaboration between the academia and right opportunities for students is the only way to shape the ambitions and aspirations of millions of youth, who will define India's future.
Xchanging is a company which provides business processing, technology and procurement services in 42 countries for customers across many industry sectors. The company has 4000 employees in India.