Currently, there is a wide gap between the acquired knowledge and required knowledge in India. Students acquire qualifications but find it difficult to acquire employment because the expectations and aspirations of the employers are different from the educational institutions.
The educational institutions emphasise theory and equip students with theoretical inputs and knowledge which is far away from the expectations of the employers. Employers look for ‘plug and play’ candidates to meet the industry's expectations. In this regard, we will discuss the current gap between the educational institutions and industry expectations and offer innovative tools and techniques to bridge the gap effectively.
How to bridge the gap?
Currently, there is a mismatch between the expectations of the industry and availability in academia. It must be bridged earnestly and immediately. There are several challenges in the present Indian education system including an excessive emphasis on memory and the least emphasis on creativity. The rapid pace of change in the outside business environment and the advanced technology must bring both academia and industry together to bridge the gap. Here are some tools and techniques to connect the campus with corporate.
- Set realistic goals. Encourage industry interactions for students. Create a strong alumni network.
- Offer student-centric education, not faculty-centric education. Provide students practice-based learning to try and train methodological competencies.
- Avoid rote learning and emphasise 3Rs―read, write, and reproduce. Instead, emphasise experiential education. Benjamin Franklin rightly remarked, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I will learn.”
- Blend both hard and soft skills judiciously. Impart soft skills training.
- Use the concept of Learning Factories. Combine didactical approaches and existing concepts with emerging topics of the industry.
- Ensure smooth communication and coordination between academia and industry. Currently, both academia and industry live in different worlds and operate on different pedestals in India. They must come together, communicate and coordinate to achieve the desired outcomes.
- Adopt team teaching where the educator and the industry expert impart knowledge in the classroom. The former teaches theoretical aspects while the latter trains practical aspects to students to enable the students to relate theory with practice.
- Ensure the right chemistry between the campus and the corporate. Invite industry experts to conduct guest lectures to understand the pulse of the students and report back to the industry with their feedback. It enables the industry to prepare its induction programs and corporate training programs accordingly.
- Invite educators to the industry to understand expectations, and recruiters to visit campus to empathise with the challenges of the educational institutions. It helps academia and industry to understand each other, empathise and bring the required changes to enhance employability.
- Academia must take inputs from industry to create a course curriculum as per the industry expectations. It must create a course curriculum that is relevant and useful to the students. After imparting education, it must take feedback from the industry and update the course curriculum and teaching pedagogy to meet the industry expectations. It must be executed periodically as the expectations and aspirations of the industry are changing rapidly.
- Encourage finishing schools to enhance employability.
Students must understand that there is permanent employability, not permanent employment in the present world. Jack Welch rightly remarked, “You can give lifetime employability by training people, by making them adaptable, making them mobile to go to other places to do other things. But you can’t guarantee lifetime employment.” Therefore, they must learn, unlearn and relearn regularly. Parents must not pressurise their children in the selection of subjects. They should appreciate their children's passion and encourage their children to choose subjects as per their choice. Educational institutions must shell out students with qualifications and competencies to enhance employability in their students. Follow these tools and techniques to bridge the skills gap keeping the latest trends and technologies in view to enable students to become employable and deployable in the corporate world.
Building a trained and talented human power is key to India’s economic growth. There is an urgent need to develop human capital in India. No country can progress without the development of its human capital. It is always the men behind the machines that count, not the machines behind the men. Educational institutions are the backbone of any country as they produce healthy citizens and leaders for the nation.
It is a fact that skill disruptions are changing the prosperity of global societies today. With the presence of a huge youth population, India has a demographic dividend and strategic advantage globally. Having employable and deployable students is crucial in taking India forward economically. To conclude, an integrated effort from all stakeholders including educators, students, parents, educational institutions, industry, intellectuals, and nonprofits is essential to bridge the existing skills gap between academia and industry.