As we are aware, employability of graduates and post-graduates has become a major concern, grabbing headlines with unsatisfactory and poor employment rates. We’ve been following an education system where employability issues don’t get addressed satisfactorily while we design the curriculum and the syllabus. Moreover, in an examination-centric teaching-learning atmosphere, it is highly impossible to concentrate on any other aspect than scoring high marks and getting placed in high-paying jobs.
In such a scenario, we look upon the industry to take up a larger and active role in creating awareness about employability through industry-relevant skills. Today, most of the interaction between the industry and the academic institutions is limited to professional colleges and focuses on job placements with little emphasis on what skills are needed to perform well on the job. There are three ways in which industry can come forward to create and sustain an environment that supports better employability of students.
- Awareness about future jobs:Are we preparing the students for jobs that don’t exist? How can colleges become more responsive to the dynamic needs of the industry?Just like how various companies come forward to recruit students through campus placements, the industry can educate the teachers and the students about new jobs in various industry sectors – both in services and manufacturing. This is a proactive measure to ensure that the students acquire right knowledge, skills and abilities to fit into the job roles. And it will also make the college and the teachers aware of how the needs of the industry are changing along with development in technology and production processes.
- Teacher enrichment: This is a core area that needs engagement with the industry. Even though teachers get trained and attend various faculty development programs, often they lack awareness about the current requirements from the industry perspective. Most teachers do not have any exposure to practical skills and how things work in real life. Hence, they need to understand the emerging job roles for their students as per industry demands and make small interventions in the curriculum to make teaching-learning process industry-relevant.
Industry has to see this as an opportunity to contribute to demand-driven curriculum by initiating teachers into what it means to perform on the job, understanding the work environment, meeting the expectations, the application of knowledge through right skills, coping strategies etc – when a teacher gets to experience this, it becomes easy to transfer this knowledge and experience to the students.
- Look beyond placements: The image of industry as perceived through a corporate job or a factory job should not be seen as an end in itself. The academia and the industry need to explore how there can be synergies between them that could form a long-term relationship rather than just supply of talent in the form of job-ready/employable candidates.
Industry and job markets are dynamic entities whereas the domain academics remains static, confined to curriculum that was designed to cater to job roles that may cease to exist soon. Teaching community operates from an academic zone that needs to slowly feel accountable for employability, higher education and research. This could be because of the lack of awareness about the industry demands, scope for alignment, research, innovation for which they have to upgrade their knowledge, skills and abilities. Hence, industry can drive various initiatives to convey the seriousness of issues related to employability and involve other stakeholders to collaborate for better employability.
Madhuri Dubey, Ph.D
Founder – National Skills Network – NSN