–By Dr. Narendra Shyamsukha, Founder Chairman, ICA Edu Skills
With a median age of 29, India is set to be the youngest nation in the world by 2020. And by 2025, it is estimated that 70 per cent of Indians will be in the working age group. Will be there be enough jobs for all of them? According to a National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) report 109.73. Skilled workforces will be needed by 2022. But India’s situation is ironic. On the one hand, economic growth has created huge employment demands and job opportunities, on the other; a shortage of skills is making more people unemployable. So one is not sure if India will be able to reap its demographic dividend; not unless we address a few key issues in our vocational and education system.
The growing disconnects between higher education and industry requirement in India is, today, a matter of grave concern. Even as graduates after graduates pass out our universities and aspire for a good job, their lack of requisite skills stands in the way of getting a good break. With our over-emphasis on academic performance, universities and academic institutions are producing youngsters with degrees but not employability and the gap between the two gets wider every day. One of the biggest challenges hiring managers face today is finding candidates with the right skill sets. Being educationally qualified is one thing, being job-ready quite another. So how do we bridge the gap? Vocational and skill development training, if delivered in a balanced and well-defined manner, can help bring talent to industry. In this context, private vocational training institutes can play a major role in helping government with skill development, especially in the field of technology.
Recruiters test you on various parameters: knowledge of core subjects, reasoning aptitude, adaptability and soft skills and most importantly your technology knowhow. It is the job of placement institutes to make students aware of the various avenues for placements, and build on their employability skills.
Here are some important aspects that educational, vocational training and placement institutes should focus on to ensure that their students get job-oriented education and training.
Internalize knowledge by assimilating contents designed with the aid of 3D Technology, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. Company like Blippar are doing good work in Augmented reality.
More scientific assessment aimed at finding and bridging knowledge gap and improving learning instead of filtering and ranking students arerequired. Companies like OPNDOOR Education system are doing great stuff in this field. The assessment are not only improving student quality, but also saving time by automating the assessment process by latest image recognition technology. The devices are also modest which is just a web camera attached to Teacher’s Computer or laptop.
Labs are no more the prerogative of sciencestudents at +2 levels. With the advent of technology,,modern day classrooms are undergoing change. Many good schools in metroshave classrooms where focus is on learning by doing. EdTEch Companies like Funscholar, RoboKidsEduventures and 3Dexter are working in this area in India. There are also labs for language like Words worth English language lab that are replacing traditional spoken English tutorials.
The government is slowly taking cognizance of the power of ‘Learning by Doing at early stage of a student’s school years. With a vision to ‘cultivate one million children in India as Neoteric Innovators’, Atal Innovation Mission is establishing Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATLs) in schools across India. The objective of this scheme is to foster curiosity, creativity and imagination in young minds; and inculcate skills such as design mindset, computational thinking, adaptive learning, physical computing etc. AIM will provide grant-in-aid that includes a one-time establishment and operational expenses for a maximum period of 5 years to each ATL. The NITI Aayog has recently announced the list of 257 schools selected to establish Atal Tinkering Laboratories.
Learning can be greatly reinforced by practice. Gamification in education makes practice funand leads to greater retention of knowledge and learning.
MOOCS (Massive Open Online Course) and LMS (Learning Management Systems) coupled with advances in smartphones is making learning personalized and flexible. Classroom-based distance learning along with MOOCS and LMS are becoming popular among working professionals but we have a lot of catching up to do in this area.
Although, we are witnessing exponential in changes in the way the education is delivered, one thing that remains constant is the presence of a human educator. The role of this person needs to change from an enforcer to enabler. Emerging economies like India, carrying a colonial legacy of education system, are still hesitant to adopt technology. EduLiftSolutions is one such startup which is working with schools and institutes across India to change this mind set and connecting them to some of the finest Indian EdTech companies.
The Way Forward
At present, nearly 80 per cent of new entrants to the country’s workforce get little or no opportunity for skills education. Merely 2.5% of our workforce is exposed to formal vocational training. Enrolling in a vocation training institute or hands-on skill training course can be of great help to candidates looking out for employment opportunities.
A number of government agencies and private institutes are imparting skill education in India, but there is little coordination between them. Companies like ICA Edu Skills are partnering with various state and Central government departments in offering skill building programmes for the country’s potential workforce in diverse sectors including agriculture, IT-ITES, retail, telecom, banking and accounting, among others. Private vocational institutes can give the government a big helping hand in skilling India and providing industry with job-ready candidates.