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Employability Challenges and Issues in Higher Education

By Dr. Sima Singh, Associate Professor, Delhi School of Professional Studies & Research | Thursday, 11 May 2017, 07:06 IST

India has a glorious past in terms of Higher Education System, and had world famous universities like Nal­anda University and Takshshila University. As per the recent statistics (2014-15) of Ministry of Human Re­source Development, Government of India, the country has 760 universities including Central Universities, State Public University and Deemed University. There are 38498 col­leges, and 12276 Stand Alone Institutions providing several program like PGDM, B.Tech, Hotel Management, Nursing, Teacher Training and many more.

We have a small number of quality institutions in our country in spite of this much of growth in higher education, and getting admission in these prime institutions is an uphill task. Therefore, large number of self-financed private insti­tutions came into existence, without having basic infrastruc­ture thus compromising the quality of intake of the students and teaching pedagogy. The outcome is, they are providing sub-standard level of education that leads to supply of poor quality of pass out students not able to meet the expecta­tions of the industries. There are several reasons of lower level of quality in higher education, like system/structural issues, unavailability of infrastructure, outdated syllabus and so on. Hence, it creates a gap between higher education and employability.

Higher education plays an important role in terms of eco­nomic development of the country. It supplies trained and skilled manpower to the different sectors of the economy. Out of four major factors of production i.e. men, money, machinery, and material, we may only have competitive ad­vantage over the men i.e. our human resource or manpower, because quality manpower may provide tremendous output. Hence, the development of the country depends on its qual­ity manpower. It is very much important for the government to invest in education, training, and skill development pro­grams as a whole to supply quality manpower in the requisite number to different sectors. At the same time, government must take initiatives to measure and control the institutions providing higher education, training, and skill develop­ment programs to control over the quality supply of skilled manpower.

The term ‘employability’ indicates that a person possess­es skills, abilities, and attributes to get a job, and to be suc­cessful in his profession, which will lead to overall develop­ment of the nation. Candidates must deliver what is expected from them by the industries. It is also expected that higher education should develop employability among the can­didates. Although, education and em­ployability are two separate things, but it has been assumed since long that pos­sessing a higher degree will ensure of getting a good job.

A graduate must possess the subject knowledge as well as the soft skills to qualify the interview. But, the recent surveys (2016) conducted by ASSO­CHAM on employability have depicted a very discouraging scenario. As per this study as many as 97 percent of graduating students in several programs like BTech, MBA and MCA want core function job, whereas merely 3 percent have suitable skills to be employed, and only 7 percent may handle the core function job. This statistics indicates that 93 perecent Indian graduates, who possess professional degrees at higher level but lack in employability skills. Further, these students do not play any role in Indian economy. This monu­mental gap may be improved with the help of promotion of skill-based educa­tion at higher level. There is huge gap between academic knowledge and ex­perience required at real working life.

The focus should not only give to higher education and skill development programs, but to skill development as a whole for Indian youth. India has entered into the phase where it has de­mographic dividend in terms of work­ing youth in the world. So, this is the right time to promote skilled based programs like short term courses, vo­cational courses and so on. Despite of various initiatives which have been taken up by the Government of India to  impart skill development to the youth between the age group of 18-35 years, skilled workforce is only 2.5 percent, which is much lower as compared to the developed countries i.e. between 60-70 percent are skilled.

To bridge this immense gap the role of the private sector is undeniable. Hence, to encourage the private sector to participate in the skill development process, the Government instilled the National Skills Development Corpora­tion (NSDC) in 2009 as a PPP model to fund, enable support services and shape private sector skill training pro­viders. NSDC has affiliated more than 200 training partners to impart skill development all over the country. As per International Labour Organisation (ILO) survey on World Employment and Social Outlook for 2017 has de­clared that the number of unemployed people is expected to rise by 1 lakh in 2017 and another 2 lakh in 2018 in In­dia. Unemployment is the biggest chal­lenge in India along with non-availabil­ity of skilled workers. Though, most of the time, the problem is not the avail­ability of the job, but the mismatch or lack of skills to carry out a particular job. Therefore, it is important to de­velop skilling models, which will not only address the issue of the need for skilled human resources but will also provide employment to the bottom of the pyramid.

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