Written By Ipshita Chakrabarti,
The major conundrum is the growing distance between the economic and educational sectors. Students claim that there is an acute shortage of jobs in the market, while organizations claim that there are vacancies which cannot be filled with untrained candidates. Bridging the gap is essential to the growth of the country’s GDP. One of the biggest issues faced by organizations is that while freshly graduated talent may have the theoretical knowledge, but they lack in skills. The skills can range from professional skills to application skills. One may hear recruiters complain about the numerous CVs that they go through everyday but none sticking out of the lot. The CVs may be arranged on the basis of various tiers of colleges but at the end it is the skill that matters which the students are found to be lacking. Organizations have to spend a substantial amount of money on the training of a fresher which ultimately reduces their return on investment (ROI). Practically speaking, this is the prime focus of any organization, since ROI determines their survival in the market.
The decrease in the quality of the graduates being churned out by the colleges can be linked to absence of feasibility and limitations of resources. Every University has its own limitations in terms of the money, infrastructure and staff which determine the capability to provide industry level training of skills to the students. In the current scenario, it is not possible for the universities to be able to conduct specific training skills involving high end technology or services to a large group of people. Higher education in India is guided by a knowledge driven culture where the role of such institutions are to provide theoretical, bookish knowledge focusing on the fundamentals and in-depth learning of time tested concepts. The idea is not wrong, since it is important to have clarity and a strong base of the theory of any subject. But, it is also imperative that it is not limited to those that were formulated decades ago without upgrading the knowledge of students by incorporating the recent developments. Another reason due to which universities do not conduct such training programs is that those programs are usually very specific and attuned to the needs of the organization. This training would not benefit everyone as it might not be what every student would want and it may streamline their career without exploring the best options.
Developing trained and industry-ready professionals
The process of creating complete and skilled employees is a collaborative process which involves both colleges and organizations to view students as potential talents and not just mere students. Colleges must emphasise on a revised syllabus which would be updated and in line with the recent trends of the current market scenario. The syllabus and the course curriculum is the most integral part of developing students into professional individuals and should have inputs from academicians, former students and industry professionals, to come up with a holistic curriculum that would ensure a strong theoretical base with recent upgrades and practical applications. The curriculum should have a juxtaposition of theory and practical knowledge such that students get classroom training to work on the application aspects of the theory they would have learnt in simulated situations. This would not only enable them to have the insight and confidence to actually apply their knowledge in the work setting, but would also strengthen the skill level due to experiential learning. Such a learning style is in line with the Kolb’s (1984) adult learning mechanism or the experiential learning theory. This mechanism talks about how the process of learning takes place in adults in four major steps. The first involves a concrete basis of learning which can be the material that they learn in terms of theory. The second step is the observation and reflection stage where the student learns to observe what he/she has studied in the environment and has reflections regarding the same. The third stage is abstraction where the student tries to make new implications of the concepts that he had previously learnt and reflected upon. The final stage is the experimentation stage, where the student actually applies the new implications in real world scenarios. Also, introducing various soft skills, professional and technical skills like instructing on how to operate required software programs and statistical tools can also upgrade the skills of the students. Many colleges are also introducing many certificate courses at subsidised rates which students can apply for. Industries must also provide specific skill set training to students to mould them into competent employees of the organization. Thus, both colleges and organizations need to be the nurturing ground and collaborate together to turn the potential and talent of the students into assets of the country.