Education and employment should go hand in hand is what we’re led to believe. However, a recent survey has revealed some shocking figures that knock down this assumption. The survey states that over 60% of total graduates in India remain unemployed. Although a significant proportion of apprentices find employment, close to two-thirds are not employed in the trade for which they were trained.
The main reason cited is the mismatch between skills attained and those actually in demand in the job market. “There is obviously a lack of connect between what is being taught in classrooms and what is required on the job,” says Jayashree Chaudhry, head of HR in a public relation firm. “Therefore, most companies have training or orientation programmes for new recruits so that one can learn and re-learn what the job profile requires them to do.”
Rajan Welukar, vice-chancellor of the University of Mumbai agrees that there is a need for better integration of employability skills in curricula. “Like the University of Mumbai, this need is today felt by varsities countrywide and corrective steps are being taken. We will need to accelerate them and make them more aggressive to address the galloping needs of employers,” he toldDNA, adding,
“Pursuing a discipline purely for the sake of it is a thing of the past. Today even if you’re a scientist, you should be able to perform your duties in the lab and also be able to deal with people.”
With more professional courses being introduced, many feel that they are a better option when it comes to specific careers. “People with professional course degrees do have an edge over those with regular degrees. For instance, someone who has done a course in PR will be able to understand the job requirements better then someone who hasn’t,” explains Chaudhary.
However, there are a few who believe that one can utilise any education in any field, if required. “On the job training is important, but one shouldn’t disregard what he or she learnt in school or college. Education will always help one understand one’s job better. Most people have a misconception that the two cannot the bridged which is not true,” says Pranav Gandhi, CEO, Youngbuzz.
Ultimately, in order for the gap between employability and education to be bridged, both students and companies feel there is a lot that remains to be done.
Are vocational courses better?
It goes beyond mugging up answers
After completing graduation, I felt I still wasn’t ready to join the workforce, so I opted for a vocational course. What I had studied in class didn’t help me much on field. Theories just act as a foundation, but not much of it is of use at the workplace. Education has given me the foundation but I personally feel that job training has been of more help as it gives hands-on experience of day-to-day issues.
It gave me an edge over others
I was left stranded once I finished my education, as I had the urge to learn more. But I had to grab an opportunity that could give me good experience and a potential to grow further. So I took up an account executive post and opted for a vocational course. I learnt a lot about accounting and finance, allowing me to be two steps ahead of others who applied for the same post at various locations.
Does real education start on the job?
Degree as important as job training
I am working in an allied field of the subject I studied in college. I was fully confident about undertaking my job after completing my education. Education doesn’t just help one get a job, it helps broaden the mindset of a person. It is absolutely not necessary for a person to use his/her education in everyday practice. I would have stood blank in my job training if I had no background in my subject.
Garima Sahney, IP consultant
Learnt more during my internship
Practical knowledge finds no place in our education. I completed my PGDBA in mass communication and acquired more knowledge during the internship which was part of our course. For me, the job training has proved more useful that what I studied. To move up the ladder, one has to use his/her wits and intelligence, not education.
Neha Gupta, senior consultant
Education comes in handy in a job profile
I have done BCom but now work in the customer service field for a real estate company. After I completed my graduation, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to work. But when I got through an interview on my first try, I got the confidence. At times, while dealing with clients, I can relate my studies to the problem in hand and it does help me serve my clients more efficiently.
Sidharth Mishra, manager
Curricula need to be continuously updated
Since our education system focuses more on degrees rather than relevant skills, companies struggle to find desired workforce with the right skill sets, and spend considerable money training resources on job-based skills. So while unemployment is considered a serious issue, employability is by far the biggest challenge in our country. Classroom knowledge needs to be supplemented with industry knowledge for the synergy to be right.
There has to be a collaboration. For instance, soft skills like effective communication need to be taught to students since these are of utmost important at a workplace. There are several instances across universities wherein the curriculum has not been updated for over a decade. School and colleges
curricula needs to be relevant.
Ashish Prasad, director and CEO, Indian Institute of Job-oriented Training (IIJT)
Govt and private companies can help bridge the gap
Since academic performance is no real measure of adeptness in a real-time job environment, there is a huge possibility of mismatched expectations on both sides. The government has been working through the skill development council chaired by the Prime Minister, which is taking initiatives in this direction.
Private companies too are rising up to address this challenge. Scalable public private partnerships (PPP) can go a long way in increasing employability among Indian youth. Focus should be on output linkage to job generation and employability. There is a need to set up quality review councils to seek industry feedback and upgrade curricula. I believe education should give preliminary hands-on experience to students of the kind of work their
profession would entail.
Ashok Reddy, MD and co-founder, TeamLease Services