In a large and ultra-competitive society like ours the need for formal education cannot be over-emphasized. As vocational education has a huge role to play in employment creation as everyone cannot (and probably should not) be aiming towards a career reliant on formal education. Unfortunately, in our country, the jobs being offered through vocational education are not seen to be as attractive/ lucrative as those that go to 'highly educated' people.
The biggest issue we have is that we are a country that prides itself on having a few islands of excellence in a sea of mediocrity. Some IITs/NITs and a few IIMs along with some NLUs and NIDs along with a handful of good private institutes are all we can boast of for such a huge country. What is stopping the government/private players to seed the cities of India with high quality educational institutions? In my view, the answer to this question is not lack of funds, but lack of quality faculty. Lack of funds may seem to be the issue, but faculty availability is a much bigger issue.
The question that one needs to then ask is -why is faculty availability such an issue in so vast a country? The answer for this would be a combination of social and systemic issues.
Students graduating out of IITs/top B-schools get campus placements that pay them a lot more than what the professors who have taught them earn.
Students graduating out of IITs/top B-schools get campus placements that pay them a lot more than what the professors who have taught them earn. High-paying/high-flying careers are a very strong lure for anybody, particularly for the bright minds of the country who have the ability to get selected to. We are (not so) slowly but steadily losing the cream of our intelligence to the corporate world (MNCs and Indian) and foreign universities. This pushes down the cumulative intelligence of people who eventually get into teaching positions. Quality faculty will become tougher and tougher to find.
While it is heartening to see the newer IIMs/IITs/NITs and many more perform well, we need to keep in mind that for the next set of IIMs/IITs to do well, quality faculty is the need of the hour and that the necessary systemic changes are to be made to guide and nurture the bright minds of the country onto this track.
Revamping the Educational System
We have to focus on increasing the revenues of educational institutes via enhanced societal/economic participation to make them more self-reliant. As Change is truly the only constant. We are slowly but certainly moving towards a world which is going to be Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous -to put it as the US Army War College did. Hence it will be imperative for professionals to constantly be on the lookout for opportunities to enhance their capabilities, not just to stay ahead, but to stay relevant. The skill gap in 'prospective employees', as you put it, is easier to deal with for organizations as compared to individuals. Organizations can follow a two-pronged approach
1. Put in stricter entry criteria. As word spreads around that your benchmark is different/high, aspirants would gear up to get an opportunity to work with you.
2. Select trainable people (both from within and from outside the organization) and have them attend appropriate training programs that will help them stay relevant and add value to the organization.
Individuals, on the other hand may often find themselves to be slow on the uptake on matters related to personal development. They often take a while before they recognize the need for it and are often left playing catch-up.
Higher education is the need of the hour. Study or get left behind. However, choose your path carefully. Do a very frank assessment of your skills, strengths and abilities. While these play a major role, do not leave your interests and aspirations behind. Combine these with your capabilities and choose wisely. This will help you get into roles that you not only would be good at but also love doing. Monday mornings would then be welcome!(As told to HER Team)
Manek N Daruvala, Founder & Director
Manek N Daruvala is the first generation entrepreneurs to initiate T.I.M.E. which trains students for various competitive exams at graduate and post graduate level -including CAT, GATE, IITJEE, GMAT, GRE, MAT and a number of other state level Management and Engineering entrance exams. He completed his post graduation in marketing from IIM, Ahmadabad and worked with Godrej as Sales Manager before starting his own organisation.