How to Tackle skill demands in India
There is an immense need for skilled workers, but there is a huge gap between skill supply and skill demand in India. Though there are around 20 million youth added to the workforce every year, only a small percentage out of them actually manage to secure a job. Hence This is because even though they possess a graduation degree, they do not possess the elementary skills required in the 21st century job industry to get employed.
Educational institutes in India train millions of students each year; however, the majority of Indian graduates across disciplines remain unemployed. Below is the list of Skill requirement for the upcoming years…
Role of IT
There seems to be an inherent disconnect between the curriculum based learning at the school and university level, with the requisite ‘job ready’ skills needed by Indian corporates. Despite some initiatives taken by the government towards enhancing skill development, there still exists a large gap between supply and demand, with students expressing their frustration by way of limited job opportunities and corporates looking for quality talent.
The university curriculum remains outdated and not relevant in a number of instances with the teaching methodology premised on instructor-led programmes with a focus on finishing the curriculum, rather than on a facilitative learning model. This limits engagement in the classroom which could curtail dialogue and discussion among the students.
Emphasizing on Knowledge, Not Marks
More emphasis is placed on obtaining the required “marks” rather than on acquiring knowledge or gaining relevant skills. Hence, except in the case of highly motivated students who take initiative, the practical application of the classroom teaching is overlooked.
This results driven approach, as opposed to a knowledge enhancing approach often results in rote learning of the key concepts rather than understanding the larger framework within which they operate.
The limited use of technology in the classroom is another deterrent to developing relevant job ready skills among the students. At most corporates/professions today, students from the first day in their jobs will be required to be technologically proficient.
Students often enroll in additional classes to acquire the basic IT skills, however this needs to be further integrated within the educational framework for them to be ready for their first day on the job.
Vocation Training Engagements
While a number of universities are seen to be increasing their focus on building a career cell, there needs to be an increased focus across universities/colleges to either build the expertise in-house or partner with vocational training institutes to develop more robust Career Development Cells to train/equip students with the requisite employment oriented skills.
Most Indian students at the university level remain unclear as to their proposed career path. For example, in Civil Engineering colleges, we can find that the motivation for joining this program usually stems from familiar pressure as opposed to a larger understanding of the role of a civil engineer. Hence, there is limited understanding of the job/career prospects in the space.
Employment Oriented Skill Buildup
An increased focus on “employment oriented” or “job ready” skills is required. In India today, vocational skilling exists outside of the realm of the university framework, with a number of corporates outlining graduate degrees as a key requirement. While there are university initiatives such as the BVoc scheme, most of these again exist within the degree framework as opposed to the vocational framework. Hence, most students need to do a 3-4 year degree programme, after which they apply for a vocational programme in order to get employment.
Below is the list of open job positions in various jobs in India in upcoming years…
To bridge the skill gap and create a value for vocational education, there needs to be a greater acceptance of vocational diplomas/certifications by employers.
There a number of government initiatives that have been started to build vocational skills amongst the youth as well:
- Deen Dayal Upadhyay Grameen Kaushalya Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Kaushalya Vikas Yojana have been important initiatives to persuade the youth to acquire key job ready skills
- At the university level, there has been the introduction of the BVoc programme to encourage students to develop employable skills
While these initiatives are a step in the right direction, they need to build a deeper alliance with the recruiting industry. The courses should not end in just mere certificates but should also translate into actual placements.