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Finishing schools: New Trend in Higher Education

By Dr. Ananthapadhmanabh Achar, Director, Sahyadri School of Management | Monday, 29 Aug 2016, 05:13 IST

Quality manpower feeds and nourishes industries and augments the economy's growth.  Therefore there is need to create a pool of skilled manpower, who can be directly absorbed by the industry. Higher education system in India which is supposed to provide skilled manpower to Industry is out-of-sync with market needs. It offers dormant knowledge and fails to meet the requirement of the corporate world. What is taught is the class room is not practiced in the Industry and what is practiced in the industry is taught in the class room. Therefore, the largest pools of young graduates, passing out of the educational institutions are unemployed due to employability. Due to this labor market, India today is facing a paradoxical situation.  Even though plenty of people are available in the labor market their skills are not meeting the requirements of the industry. At present, if the fresh graduates are hired by industries they need to be trained for 8- 10 months to make them productive. So for the first 8th month post recruitment, employees are not productive for the organization. Because of the severe competition, corporate sector today need first day first hour productive employees and hired by employers but generally they lacking in the necessary skills, knowledge and abilities required for new generation jobs.

This has resulted in vast unemployment. Despite widespread unemployment, various sectors of the Indian industry are facing a shortage of skilled labor. This paradoxical situation has emerged over a period of time due to faculty system in the Indian Higher education.  Indian Higher Education system has three major players viz Corporate, Governments and Educational Institutions.

 All these three players work in isolation. Corporate sector have no time to interact with Institutions to tell them requirements of the industry. Educational Institutions are interested only on returns of their investment. Regulatory bodies  instead of framing  polices for  making  industry and institutes work hand in hand, are busy only in enforcing outdated policies for regulating higher education. As a solution to these problems in the Indian Higher Education system, to prepare readymade candidates, who can start contributing on the first day of their requirement in the organization; new institutions called finishing schools have emerging in the labor market.  ‘Finishing school’ is gaining popularity in India to link the education to employment by developing employability.

 According to All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), a finishing school is a private school for students that emphasizes on training for development of all round personality, skill, knowledge and ability required by the industry. The finishing schools aim to provide both technical and soft skills to students to facilitate their employability and play a part in the supply side issues of the industry. Finishing School programs are designed to develop employability of the fresh students hailing from different disciplines. It is interesting to observe that a good number of finishing schools are emerging in India. The biggest advantage of these finishing schools is that these schools cut down the "deployable time" for an organization.

An unprecedented changes occurring in the Indian economy due to globalization and liberalization there is a need for a new breed of business education in our country aimed at developing a new generation of business leaders who can walk into organizations and start contributing from the first day they join. Responding to these needs management institutes in India are increasingly becoming popular as finishing schools to develop employability of young graduates. Major components of Training in Management education are: Leadership development, Job Skills Business Communications, Group Dynamics, Business Ethics, Life Values, Essential Know-How, Business Skills, Managerial Skills, Persuasion, Negotiation Skills, Self Esteem and Attitude.  As management institutes train students in developing employability skills many organizations recruit students directly from these institutes for entry level managerial positions, thus making campus recruitment most popular source of recruitment. Due to this trend management institutes are becoming gateways for gainful employment and MBA has become one of the most glamorous Masters Degree program and management graduates are paid more than other graduates.

Today around 300 management institutions in India claim that they provide 100 percent placement to students.  These Institutions admit students through CAT and during the course of study students will be undergone through rat race to get employed. Sad part of the story is that due to this rat race many a times students actually behave like rats.  Therefore, management institutes shall inculcate values and ethics among the students during the course of study along with developing employability skills.

About the Author: Dr. Ananthapadhmanabh Achar

Dr. Achar has 28 years of experience in teaching, training and consultancy in management before joining Sahyadri as the Director of the MBA program; he has worked for the Manipal group of institutions for more than two decades. His areas of specialization in teaching are HRM and Behavioral science.

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