Higher Education Review Magazine

Higher Education Review ›› Magazine ›› November-2017 ›› Special issue

Give a Break to the Growing Skill Gap

Author : Dr. Abhijit Sarkar, Vice-President and Country Head-Corporate Real Estate, Sharekhan

Dr. Abhijit Sarkar

Dr. Abhijit Sarkar, Vice-President and Country Head-Corporate Real Estate Sharekhan

Since Independence, successive Indian governments have had to address a number of key challenges with regard to education policy, which has always formed a crucial part of its development agenda. Improving the standards of education in India will be a critical test and it will need to resolve concerns over the content of the curriculum, as well as tackling the underlying challenges to education. India's "demographic bulge" -
the hundreds of millions of young people who will flood its job markets in the next decade is in danger of sliding into a lopsided paunch that will weigh the nation down and crimp its gross domestic product. The problem is simple: Indians are obsessed with textbook education and white-collar dreams. Most of them shy away from blue-collar careers that could guarantee them employment and income. The less formally-educated youth lack proper vocational training and are doomed to drift from one low-paying stint to another.

For a long time, academic performance in the classroom and standardized test scores have been at the top of the list for most colleges. While these priorities have been consistent, one of the new factors more colleges are paying attention to is Demonstrated Interest. Until about 10 years ago, this concept was used primarily by admission "insiders;" deans of admission or senior-level admission officers. Today, the idea of Demonstrated Interest is better known by many, but probably misunderstood by most. Deans of Admission are under pressure to enrol an exact number of students each year; no more and no less. Factoring in Demonstrated Interest has proven to be a valuable tool to achieve this aim.

Demonstrated interest is the degree to which you show a college that you are sincerely interested in coming to their school. It has become an important, subtle tool that colleges use to efficiently and accurately enrol a specific target number of students each year. Demonstrated interest is something that colleges quantify through specific reliable behaviours undertaken by potential students. Colleges can then use this quantified behaviour to incorporate into sophisticated models or algorithms that may lead them to admit students or decide how much merit aid to award. In the competitive marketplace for potential students, it is of great value to a college to have a stronger level of certainty that students are more likely to attend, compared to another applicant. Colleges gauge the interest through fairly ordinary behaviours. Making an official campus visit through the admission office is one of the most valuable ways to show the interest.

Social learning in education is now trending and turns out to be one of the most significant aspects that need to be incorporated into the practices of education with the aid of technology. It facilitates engagement, collaboration and interaction among students, teachers or anyone connected to education. There has been a wild competition for tech development in this field, and we can witness a range of outstanding tools and apps which make learning a social thing. Similarly, teachers need constant help and guidance to provide their students with the best lesson plans and resources. There are numerous tools which help teachers do so and also enhance their professional development. Here are compilations of some of the tech tools especially for Social Learning and Lesson Planning, including some that are becoming increasingly popular and widely used, that should be part of any tools for teachers list, whether for their own personal use or as educational aids in the classroom.

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