India was often credited as having significantly contributed in the field of knowledge, whether it was Astronomy, Mathematics, Physics or Economics. Our rich culture & history reached the farthest places in the globe, with several people flocking into the country to learn all they could. However, that was all in the past.
As the teaching styles and systems of the world evolved, India's did not. From using outdated books & training methodologies to focusing only on theory, we now have a new problem in our hands.
A huge rift between Academia & Employer expectations has come onto the spotlight. One must remember that India is the youngest country in the world in terms of its population. We have close to 550 Million people under the age of 25 with 225 million being children in the age range of 10 to 19. This ideally means that's India is on the path of having a youthful & productive working age population while the rest of the world will be running out of young & skilled employees. With all focus now pointed towards India, it is expected to become the manpower supplier of the world. However, while it sounds great, this can all only happen if academies start working more on good quality education and a higher focus on skill development. While it cannot be said that education in India is not up to global standards, it is however rare. Therefore it is vital that we have an education system that can employ people or else we will be heading towards a catastrophe.
The entire focus is on access to education and not quality and that is because there was a time when if a child didn't have education it was the parents fault but now it is the states fault. Students need to shift their focus from having their scores as the benchmark to a system where concentration should be more on all round development. This is where skill development comes into play. Educational institutions should completely revamp their existing & some in some cases out dated curriculum. This is the first and most crucial step towards making students employable. A curriculum based on demands of the industry is the need of the hour.
The dipping quality of communication skills is another worrying factor. Our education system solely focuses on book knowledge and science primarily, but is that all to learn? Having education alone does not guarantee jobs anymore, the skills a candidate possesses is another decision making factor. Communication and presentation skills should be made part of the core curriculum for every course. Furthermore, we must start early and include this in primary education as well. There is a lot of focus on such life skills now, which the early years of education is now trying to address. Schools are moving from their traditional approach and adopting a more holistic approach of a child's personality development. This may take some time but what is important is that we have now embarked on that journey now.
It also important to take note that in a country like India, which produces the highest number of engineers, it is appalling when you see several reports suggest that more than 80 percent of them unemployable. Getting our graduates employable is important for India but its success is entirely dependent on how we redesign our path to education.
Therefore, while the educational institutions have a lot of work ahead of them, it is equally important for the employers to help bridge the gap as well. In recent past employers have been able to run the show by lowering their hiring standards in order to be fully staffed and they also invest a lot of energy on training programs to help make their employees more productive. Unfortunately while this may be a quick fix, it will be difficult to sustain in the long run. Several studies have shown that the deciding factor on securing a job is not the education, but rather the kind of skills the candidate possesses. Employers need to start rolling out more internship, apprenticeships & training program that are easily accessible. Employers can also approach educational institutions and conduct programs that help build the student skill level.
It is clear on what needs to be done; we need to have an alliance between the employer and academia to create the work force of the future. With so many state sponsored events and the realization of the problems we are facing in getting skilled employees, it will take time for us to start seeing results, especially something as large scale as this, however change in the right direction is inevitable.
He is a seasoned HR Professional with +20 years of experience in IT, ITES & Insurance Industry. He has demonstrated abilities in implementing innovative methods to bring about significant changes in process/policies at all level. Heading PAN India Employee Relations Role with span of 5000 + Employees, he has handled recruitment for Asia Pacific, UK, US & Poland.