It is a paradoxical situation that the institutions of higher learning like the IITs, IIMs, medical, and engineering colleges which wereï¿½set up to primarily meet the requirements of the Indian Industry, areï¿½now posed with thisï¿½existential challenge. This challengeï¿½mayï¿½hence be reframed asï¿½'role reengineeringï¿½by institutions', post understanding the changed/changing requirements of theï¿½expectations forï¿½Industry ready graduates.
Fundamentally, theï¿½challenge can be attributed to a couple of majorï¿½themes or issues. Firstly,ï¿½Indian education system has taken quite a long time to examine the limitation of rote learningï¿½and make shifts. This has resulted inï¿½a crisisï¿½marked byï¿½unemployment, qualifiedï¿½candidates and yet huge un-employability. The simple reason for this situation is that 'knowing'ï¿½alone does not automatically lead toï¿½'doing'. Hence, the institutions - be it at secondary, higher secondary,ï¿½university levels- have to adapt to theï¿½pedagogy that enables the student to apply the knowledge and be proficient inï¿½skills that are valued byï¿½the job market.
Secondly, the institutional philosophy of teaching in a teacher-taught- student paradigm has to give way to placing the student at the centre of the learning experience. With theï¿½advancement of the Internet, MOOCs resources, the student can imbibe a large part of the knowledge content on his/her own.ï¿½Hence the role of the teacher would be to checkï¿½whether the minimum requirements of knowledge have been learnt, provide perspective, and share the updatedï¿½content andï¿½related issues.ï¿½Equally important, the faculty needs to link the knowledge with the profession/work context in the Industry.ï¿½Hence, it is important for institutions, universities and even schools to ensure that there is a constant dialogue and engagement between the job providers and the job seeker- theï¿½faculty has to be at the centre of this process, so that he/she can align theï¿½triad of ' knowledge- skill - being'.
Thirdly, there needs to be a ladderisation in matching the requirements of the industry, capability of the student/learnerï¿½and the institutions of learning. In order to reduce the unnecessary social compulsion of being aï¿½graduate, it is important that there are bridges for those who do not want to go for graduate studies to be able to enter the world of work, based on the skills and knowledge they have gathered so far, that is alsoï¿½aligned with the industry's requirements. Those who stop their education and commence work should be given re-entry bridges to study again andï¿½a new re-entry point, later into the world of work.ï¿½
Fourthly, institutions need to reduce the focus of education/training only for ensuring employment. India has a large population and it is very challenging if employment is the only driver for education and higher education in particular. It is paramount that all institutions should be looking for those students who have an entrepreneurial bent of mind, guide them and link them with the innovators- entrepreneurial ecosystems. An entrepreneur can potentially generate multiple numbers of jobs which can never be matched only by focusing on employment in running organisations.
With PM Narendra Modi giving a big impetus to national reforms like- Smart Cities Mission, alongwith Swachh Bharat, Make in India, Digital India, these ambitious initiatives are not only expected to change the landscape of the nation but are also seen as vehicles to improve economic climate and GDP, attract foreign investments and most importantly, create millions of jobs across diverse industry sectors and allied fields. Despite concerns from some quarters, even if the government successfully develops 40-50 cities in next few years, it would mean a great boost to sectors such as steel, construction, capital goods, most certainly power, followed by telecom, automobiles, banking/finance and IT/ITeS. It is obvious that India needs a large pool of professionally trained manpower and several support systems to achieve its national goals. Indian education has to still come to the stage of offering programmes that integrate geography, sociology, architecture, engineering, management, environment, economics, renewable energy, urban planning and governance. With the Institute of Town Planners (ITPI), the apex body of professional town and country planners and 40 institutes offering about 60-odd courses in urban planning, that produce around thousand graduates every year, there is a dire need for a large number of capacity building programmes through education, training, research, collaborations for co-creating knowledge, followed by creation of a huge database.
The manner in which socio- economic scenario keeps changing worldwide; educational institutes need to align their vision to bring in a new focus to highlight new skills not only through innovative educational offerings but also by changing the lensesï¿½of their young students by making them work with sensitivity and empathy for the benefit of all stakeholders in the global society. They will therefore have to look beyond degrees and placements, combine collaborative approach with creative confidence to nurture their students as responsible citizens with global mindsets. The young MBAs taking their first few steps in the B-School environment today also need to understand that skilling, re-skilling and multi-tasking is the 'Mantra' for bringing transformation in Self, Organization and Society.
Hence, the institutions of learning need to keep an eye on what are the changing skill/job requirements by various societies and examine ifï¿½India has an advantage to supply the workforce, which will become possible only when educational institutions turn into social transformation labs for incubation of people, planet and profit.
Dr. Uday Salunkhe
Dr.Uday Salunkhe brings over 20 years of experience in academics. He earned his doctorate in 'Turnaround Strategies for Sick Companies', an achievement that helped him lead WeSchool, run by Shikshana Prasaraka Mandali (SP Mandali), one of the top B-schools in the country. Since his appointment as Director in the year 2000, he has brought more to the table at WeSchool than expected within 5 years of his appointment. Currently he is Group Director of Welingkar Institute of Management and Research (WeSchool), in Mumbai and Bangalore.