Mr. Bhaskaran Srinivasan Explains Why Employability Enhancement Programs are Important Today
By Mr. Bhaskaran Srinivasan
1. Why should universities and colleges introduce employability enhancement programs for their students?
Currently, there is very little focus on the part of education institutes to train students on what the industry needs. Reasons, why education institutes must change their approach, are:
i. Existing jobs are disappearing or morphing. It is the responsibility of educational institutions to monitor this changing trend, adapt its curriculum, and better prepare students for the uncertain future.
ii. When entering a college at an undergraduate level, there is very little clarity on how the curriculum will help a student take on a specific kind of job.
iii. The industry is spending far too much time and money on getting fresh graduates ready to take on jobs within their company. This reduces the industries own competitiveness.
iv. The industry is unable to take on high end R&D activity because the graduates and post graduates passing out of colleges and universities study a curriculum that is irrelevant and archaic across many streams.
2. What is the relevance of employability quotient in today's market?
The concept of employability quotient in its current form needs an overhaul if it is to be useful. Industries complain that they must impart additional training to fresh graduates before they become “employable”. Especially if the graduates are from tier 3 or tier 4 colleges. The challenge is therefore on reducing the time, effort, and money spent by companies on training the fresh graduates as part of their induction program. Of course, this will never be zero irrespective of how good the educational institutes are. No two companies follow the same process or operate in the same context. They will always have to impart additional training in some form or other. The message is that most graduates are employable – but at a cost. The employability quotient measured on these terms provides a far more objective and comparable metric.
3. How can soft skills and employability enhancement be induced in the curriculum of schools and colleges?
The question really should be, why can’t it be done. It is easy for colleges and universities to do this. They do not seem to realise the importance of soft skills in the performance of an individual. When such courses are provided, neither the college nor the student takes them seriously. The way to create a robust curriculum encompassing soft skills is to conduct a pre-assessment on all students at the beginning of their course and recommend the soft skill courses that they ought to complete before they become eligible for certification. Some colleges treat these as bridge courses. It is merely the lack of will and regulatory backing that prevents this from happening.
4. What are the few aspects that can be kept in mind while inducing employability enhancement and skill development programs in schools and colleges?
i. Change the rules to allow more industry practitioners to become “Professors of Practice” in educational institutions on a part time basis
ii. Make it mandatory for academicians to work in an industry as a reverse sabbatical once in 5 years. This will help the professors understand what the industries expect from the graduates
iii. Make it mandatory for colleges and universities to engage with corporates to undertake research and proof of concept projects. This will help colleges understand what the industries are looking for
iv. All research funding by the government should only be for cases where it is jointly bid by an institution and a company
v. College and university professors to have regular interactions (once a semester) with industry practitioners to understand the industry’s way of working and their requirement
vi. Refresh of curriculum to be done jointly with representatives from both the academia and industry.
This article was published in The Hindu
About the Author
Bhaskaran Srinivasan is the Director of Academics for Manipal Global Education Services. He is responsible for the quality of content and pedagogy. He is also responsible for ensuring the high quality of faculty used to deliver the best knowledge to all programs. He works with the Banking Academy, the Global Nxt University, the IT Academy, and the Data Science Academy.