By Surya Prakash Mohapatra, Bangalore: This is the second article in the Skill Box series. In my first article, we discussed how the large pool of graduates emerging from the Universities, B-Schools, Engineering Colleges are not living upto the expectations of the Industry. Organizations across multiple sectors are struggling to find skilled, employable talent from the ever increasing number of educational institutions in the country. How do we tackle this skill deficit? What needs to be done to bridge this gap?
Root Causes: Before we try and find answers to the aforesaid questions, let us first understand the root-causes of India’s Skill-Gap. Even today our educational institutions are attaching undue importance only to three areas, namely, linguistic ability, arithmetic ability and reasoning ability. But the abilities required by employers are not restricted to these three areas only. Today organizations look for more broad based and holistic skills. These skills are dynamic and ever evolving. Moreover, the current state of our educational institutions is not inspiring enough. They lack good infrastructure, appropriate teaching methods and competent faculty members. Their curriculum and course syllabus are grossly outdated.
Solutions: What is the solution in the midst of such a gloomy scenario? The solution lies in building an effective ecosystem which can run like a well-oiled system where all entities would work in tandem with each other to nourish, nurture and produce the best possible talent. Let’s look at the various entities in this futuristic ecosystem and their roles.
The government needs to bring in effective policies and provide a robust support system where forward looking educational institutions can thrive. The government should go all out to tap the talent pool across the country including rural India. The current government programs like Skill India, Digital India, Make in India, etc. are steps in the right direction. Time will tell if these promises are going to translate into action.
Organizations cannot say that their job is to either recruit or reject graduates provided by Universities. They have a role to play in this talent-building ecosystem too. They need to partner with educational institutions to develop the best talent in the country. The industry exposure needs to be baked into the curriculum at Universities.
Educational Institutions have to stop being commercial profit making business houses. Rather they should focus on being ‘centers of learning’. Their curriculum should be outcome focused; infrastructure and teaching methods best-in-class and faculty members highly competent. They should partner with the industry and together with their industry partners co-create an enviable talent pool.
Parents play an indispensable role in shaping the character and competence of their children, i.e., the future workforce. Some of the attributes like resilience, adaptability, fearlessness, compassion and respect for others can only be honed and sharpened by parents at home. If our kids don’t learn these attributes at home, they can rarely acquire them later at the University or at work.
The other key players in the entire ecosystem are the fresh graduates or soon-to-be graduates themselves. As they brace up to launch their own professional career, they need to take on the responsibility of skilling and upskilling themselves. I would sum up my advice for them with these 3 ‘E’s: Experience, Experiment, Exposure. The real learning for these youngsters will come from their experience, exposure and experiment with real life.
Building an eco-system with the right constituents with clear accountabilities can be the answer to India’s skill-deficit. Watch out the Skill Box space for more articles on Skill and Career Development. In the meanwhile, if you have questions or feedback, tweet me @pmsurya
The author is a senior management professional and an industry thought leader in HR and L&D space. In 2014, he was awarded as one of the 25 Most Talented Training and Development leaders in the world.