Six out of ten educators say the higher education system is unable to respond to changing skill needs

New Delhi:  IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced a study conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) in cooperation with the Economist Intelligence Unit, to evaluate India’s growing skills challenge and proposed recommendations to bridge the gap.

A majority of Indian executives surveyed in the study said that the quality and quantity of skills in the Indian workforce are at least comparable to those of other countries, and many reported them to be superior. However, only 40 percent indicated new employees in local labor markets have the requisite job skills.

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The IBM study, ‘Upskilling India’ derives insights from a survey of academics, corporate-recruiters, and emerging education leaders in India. In addition, the study also analyzed results of recent surveys of startup entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and corporate executives.

Key findings:

61% of India’s surveyed educators indicate that the higher education system is unable to respond to changing societal needs.

70% of India’s venture capitalists indicated that startups cannot find employees with the right skills.

Only 40% of Indian industry executives said new employees recruited in local labor markets have requisite skills.

73% of India’s education leaders surveyed say new technologies are disrupting higher education.

“Today’s rapidly evolving economic environment makes developing new skills an imperative across job profiles and sectors. At IBM, we believe in providing an environment that fosters new learning and development experiences aided by the power of technology,” said DP Singh, Vice President and Head – HR, IBM India/ South Asia. “We are working with government bodies, academia, corporates, start-ups and recruitment firms to equip India with a “job-ready” workforce.”

Between 2010 and 2030, India’s working population is expected to expand from 750 million to almost one billion. Without adequate education and training, such population growth poses increased risk of the emergence of a growing class of the under or unemployed.

Key recommendations of the study:

Develop more practical, experience-based education — Rethink higher education curricula by identifying opportunities to infuse experience-based and real-world learning experiences and embracing new teaching technologies and techniques. Higher education institutions should build alliances with industry partners, share learnings and refine strategies.

Embrace technologies that improve educational access, experiences, and outcomes — Assess current capabilities and requirements, experiment with using new technologies and extend capabilities through ecosystem partners.

Build deeper relationships with ecosystem partners — Define and reach consensus with key partners around a common vision for the education ecosystem, with clearly defined commitments from all partners.

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