An extensive study that was undertaken to investigate the employability and higher education prospects in the country determined that the emerging batch of graduates across the country suffer from the absence of appropriate industry-relevant skills rather than the absence of employment opportunity. This means that the vast surfeit of aspiring students who wish to excel in contemporary fields and secure jobs of the future should focus on developing future-based skills and enhancing tech proficiencies to keep abreast with the relentless pace of technological advancement. According to the 2020 Centre of Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) report, around 3.6 Cr of students graduated last year while simultaneously about 18 million tech professionals faced the proverbial axe.
On the whole, our country registers more than 2.5 million STEM students each year; unfortunately, due to the lack of industry-pertinent skills, less than half of these graduates find themselves employable in a cutthroat market. The truth of the matter is that university curriculums fail to provide the valid Return on Investment (ROI). The students find their instructions lacking in the essential skills and abilities that can help them thrive in a rapidly transforming tech vista. As a result, only three percent of the graduates within any academic year are rendered employable in the present business climate. Due to this adverse situation, there are fifteen to eighteen lakh engineers produced by the system in each calendar year –the majority of which are victims of a subpar curriculum that leaves them unemployable without further exercises in gathering important next-gen skills.
This also causes these unlucky aspirants to splurge more than twice their college fees in the process of retraining and re-skilling themselves to arrive at par with the current dynamics in the tech world. Interestingly, there has also been a substantial surge in the number of students who are expending a sizeable sum on skill acceleration and seeking guidance from corporate mentors to meet industry requirements. Conversely, we have a distinct and observable inability of the system to produce skilled professionals with the acumen to adequately handle the challenges of design, RPA, AI/ML, etc.
The need of the hour is skilled professionals with the enthusiasm to learn their way around fields of future jobs such as Data Science, Healthtech, Cybersecurity, IoT, Robotics, Blockchain Technology, AI Marketing, Cloud Computing, AR/VR, Robotics Process Automation, etc. Students also need to acquire social Innovation & problem-solving skills that can be learnt in a practical environment under the supervision of corporate professionals. Students should be given the opportunities in working on real projects with industry experts.
A panel of experts from IIT recently recommended an emphasis on solving real-world problems under the mentorship of veteran industry professionals; according to them, the large gap in employability that divides skilled professionals from unskilled ones can only be overcome by practical exposure to the real factors governing the digital marketplace.
Only a skilled workforce can drive the push towards renewable energy – solar and electric-powered vehicles and machinery, to name a critical example – and translate the varied skills of a modern workforce into a self-sufficient and efficient problem-solving taskforce. The only logical recourse is a disruptive educational model that consciously works towards bridging the gap between an academic’s concerns and the industry’s expectations. The onus currently lies largely upon rising EdTech companies, whose primary modus operandi is to bring professional coaches into contact with higher educational institutions.
In fact, some Edtech companies have already made significant inroads upon the long-term goal of capturing the university-embedded model. A slew of emerging online service providers is fast laying the groundwork for bringing industry-oriented innovation to university curricula. These next generation players are shaking the status quo by initiating new full-time degree programmes in future skills along with real-time projects with industry professionals, while also providing credit-based specializations that can be embedded within existing university curricula. On the other hand, some offer a free repository of learning resources that caters to both students and faculty. Yet, few also extend specialized pre-defined courses geared towards aiding both students and faculty within a comprehensive repository, accessible in its entirety at a minimal subscription charge.
In conclusion, it is imperative to note that only individuals who sufficiently invest in upskilling and upgrading their current abilities will prosper in the coming times. The constantly shape shifting nature of the future business world necessitates that aspirants keep pushing towards attaining novel paradigms of knowledge and capabilities. Remember, it is essential to focus on nurturing one’s skillsets, Jobs will naturally follow.