In the present dynamic scenario, businesses are facing challenge of rapidly changing technology, knowledge base, competition and, variations and changes in demand pattern. Opportunities are enormous but tapping them in right time in right manner is the need of the hour. Cost and time have both become very important and to earn margins in such a challenging environment, there is a dire need of working executives who can turn cost into profits at the earliest.
While education has always been designed to cater to the needs of industry, it has been observed that most of the educational institutes have not been successful in developing the effective employability skills among students. Therefore, this gap has put industry with a feeling of uselessness of education system in the context of employability skills. Many studies in India and abroad have shown that that there is huge skill gap in organizations and about 3/4th of Indian businesses are facing employability skill gap.
Some of the important employability skills are creativity, problem solving, analytical, communication, learning aptitude, leadership and team building, and global perspective, which should ultimately be effective in making an employee good in domain knowledge, cultural fitment, understanding of latest trends and customers, and result orientation. Above all, I feel and studies have proved, integrity and values form the crux, resulting in making use of all the skills in best positive direction.
Appointing mentors from industry during the study period of student is a good possibility to keep students continuously in touch with industry expert but with a condition, that expert has time to guide the student.
Developing employability skills among the students through industry-institute interface is very vital. Many good methods of industry interface are already going on in valuable manner in some of the good institutes but in majority of the institutes, effectiveness of these methods is under question. It is high time when a serious thought need to be given for making such interface effective in many of the institutes for the real benefit for the academia and industry both.
For making education system more industry oriented, the collaboration starts from inclusion of industry experts in advisory boards or governing councils and their help is sought in framing education curricula also. Industry experts are being invited as guest speakers or for taking up a whole course in a short period. A great care should be taken to select proper industry experts in advisory boards or for designing the content who really have time and who can really add value. Adding them for having good name only is not going to serve the purpose.
Short period teaching can be good but cannot beat the effectiveness of regular teaching therefore, giving industry orientation and regular trainings of teachers can be the best way to train students in effective manner but this has been most neglected area in industry-institute interface. Teachers, in general, learn through projects consultancy, case writing and joint seminars with industry experts. Recruitment of teachers having experience in industry is also very difficult due to government norms in recruitment process.
Appointing mentors from industry during the study period of student is a good possibility to keep students continuously in touch with industry expert but with a condition, that expert has time to guide the student. Industrial attachment through summer/winter internship or other small projects is a very good and mostly adopted system to train the students but in most of the cases, students just follow some directions/instructions given by the industry experts for very specific tasks. What is more required is training them in a systematic manner, involving them in the process of designing the methodology, make them learn the application of their knowledge learnt, correcting them and solving the questions of why etc. In this competitive world industry experts are perhaps combating with their own busy schedules and academia is also not that serious in actually students learning through projects. A good percentage of industrial attachments should lead to final placement but that's not happening leaving students to be placed by other company and sometimes in entirely new field, resulting student again to start working in the industry a learning mode.
It is seen that main objective of industry-institute interface has become getting placements but not to train the students properly and the important objective of education is sometimes forgotten. Importance of basic education, which ultimately makes understanding of advanced concepts possible, should not be ignored and systems should be followed to give education in a serious and disciplined way. This would make students learn importance of systems, discipline and sincerity. Therefore, knitting of industry exposure has to be planned in a careful manner to serve the purpose.
Above all, I feel, benefits from the day one is not a practical concept, there will always remain need of hand holding and mentoring of the new recruits in the industry to make their abilities working for the benefit of industry at the earliest.
Dr. Madhu Sharma
Dr. Madhu Sharma is the Director of Prioritization, Monitoring and Evaluation at S. K. Rajasthan Agricultural University, which was established in 1987 to bring about progressive and technological advancement in the area of agricultural development and to contribute to the socioeconomic development of the farming community of the country.