Employers, universities and professional bodies agree that we need to develop professionals who are highly skilled and ready to face challenges of increased competition. More than ever, we need professionals who are responsive to economic, social, cultural, technical and environmental changes and can work flexibly and intelligently across business contexts. The current industries require graduates who understand the part they play in building their organizations, and have practical skills to work effectively in their roles. Unlike occupational or technical skills, employability skills are generic in nature rather than job specific and cut across all industry types, business sizes and job levels, right from entry level workers.
According to the survey carried out by a number of agencies, more than 70 percent of our engineering graduates are not employable. Dr. Kalam has rightly said that India does not have a problem of unemployment but unemployibility. The graduates lack other skills besides the academic and technical skills. The top three most important general skills indentified were integrity, reliability and teamwork, while the top three most specific skills are entrepreneurship, communication in English and use of modern tools and technologies.
If colleges want to improve the employability of their graduates, they have to focus on reducing these important skill gaps through improvements in curriculum and teaching methods. The universities are required to play a significant role for the same so that graduates have to be able to formulate, analyze and solve real life problem using standard engineering techniques. Educational curriculum needs to be examined from time to time in order to ensure that the education received by the students is relevant and up to date. Industrial training received by students need to be looked into and revised in term of its effectiveness to assured that the students are clear with their job scopes later on. Besides that, the faculties should practice employability skill during teaching and learning session so that it could assist students to understand ways of applying the skills by themselves.
One of the major 'Key Point Indicator' to measure the performance of any institute can be Placement of the students in reputed industries with their salary packages. With a view to meet the immediate trained human resource requirements of the IT & ITES/core industries, it is proposed to set up a Industry Institute Interaction Cell in each institute for engineering graduates who are academically weak.
By designing academic programmes around the various stages of the learning process one can be sure that such programs are not only effective in delivering a relevant curriculum but one that attracts, engages and retains enthusiastic and talented students to the field. It is argued that employability training that embeds the student work experience within industry should also be included into this portfolio of effective approaches. The redesign of programmes to include such strategies may seem complex yet this is the only way to ensure that students are constantly attracted to the degree programmes delivered within universities and then perhaps more importantly remain engaged.
Each institution should define the set of skills that a graduate is supposed to have after each semester. Further, college need to change pedagogical style from teacher-centric to students-centric, and include more assignments for students to independently analyze and apply tools on real life problems. Only through such changes in the teaching - learning process will the future engineers become more employable.
The higher education sector is characterized by diversity; course and student profiles are different and universities aim to develop students with distinct characteristics or attributes. Universities are required to develop employability skills in their students by providing academic staff with relevant support and resources, integrating these skills into curriculum and course design, providing students with work placements and exposure to professional settings and providing advice and guidance through career services.
Prof. Sandeep A. Meshram
With nearly 17 years of proven forte in teaching Engineering subjects like Petrology, Stratigraphy, Mineralogy and Structural Geology and almost 10 years of consulting experience with different Govt. and non-Govt. projects. Prof. Sandeep is a Lifetime member of Indian Geological Congress, Indian Water Resources Society and Indian Society for Technical Education. He is presently handling the additional responsibility of Training and Placement department of COEP from 2007.