Gujarati students may have sound knowledge of their subject, but fall back when it comes to employability. A round table conference held as part of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad’s Confluence 2012 discussed issues pertaining to employability of youth in India. The speakers talked on the theme of exploring models for collaboration among industry, government and academia.
Talking of his experience, Vishal Mehta, founder, Infibeam, said that only 50% to 60% of students could clear a test designed by the company when they went for campus placements. “This is a very low figure. I have found that students in Gujarat have sound technical knowledge, but what they lack is the surrounding skills, team work, thinking forward etc,” said Mehta. He said that educational institutes alone cannot be blamed for the situation. “The earn-while-you-learn programme that is quite common in the UK, US and other countries can be of help in making our students learn these surrounding skills,” said Mehta.
Jayanti Ravi, commissioner, higher education, listed the number of steps taken by the government to promote innovation in education. She also rued the fact that in India, the best of brains don’t opt for the teaching job. “If we take into consideration the purchasing power parity (PPP) model, you will be surprised to know that salaries in the field of higher education are the highest in India among BRIC countries. Even across the world, we stand eighth when it comes to pay,” she said dispelling the myth that those joining the field are poorly paid. There was a general consensus among the speakers that usually the poor employability of students was blamed on educational institutes, when in fact businesses too need to come up with models that would make youth more employable.
Akshai Agarwal, vice-chancellor, Gujarat Technological University, said that commercialisation of education had shifted the focus from quality to profit making.
Backing his claim with statistics, Agarwal showed how the quality of higher education in India had been deteriorating at a fast pace with even countries like Malaysia a, Thailand and Saudi Arabia overtaking us in the field.
"The only saving grace perhaps is that we don’t lag behind Pakistan and Bangladesh,” said V-C Agarwal.