Critical Role of Industry- Academia Interface in Making Students Employable | digitalLEARNING Magazine
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Critical Role of Industry- Academia Interface in Making Students Employable

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Staggering data about the dearth of employability skills among Indian graduates has raised concerns about the need to foster Industry-Academia collaboration. Such collaborations can prove a win-win situation for all the parties including – Students, Industry, and the Academia
 Amarnath Reddy, CEO, Jawahar Knowledge Centre

We have lakhs of students coming out from various engineering and degree colleges, but the job market is fluctuating. It is not just dependent on the local or national economy. There are so many factors including global factors, new technologies coming in, and thus students have to get equipped with a lot of new skills to get employed. Students must understand it is not only about the syllabus or passing through your exams. They need to develop their social skills, communication skills, innovate, visualise and add value to themselves. Learning beyond textbooks is the key.

Dr Sreerama K Murthy, Co-founder, Chairman & CEO, Teqnium

I would like to approach employability from the angle of educational analytics. Analytics is basically looking at data and trying to find patterns in data and then acting on those patterns. What you can measure, you can improve. So in our institutions, if you can measure what you know and what you have learnt so far, what is the best thing to learn next then you will be able to learn in a faster, more effective way. Apart from personalising education to individual student, data analysis can help in matchmaking between the student and the industry. So the quality institutions of the future must be data driven, it means the decision maker in any institution should have the right data to support him in making a rational decision. They need to have enough data about themselves and about the environment to make the right decision. For example, the Arizona State University has built a campus wide data collection and data reporting system. So anyone will be able to go on the campus intranet and for example it is a professor looking to Dr Sreerama K Murthy, Co-founder, Chairman & CEO, Teqnium I would like to approach employability from the angle of educational analytics. Analytics is basically looking at data and trying to find patterns in data and then acting on those patterns. What you can measure, you can improve. So in our institutions, if you can measure what you know and what you have learnt so far, what is the best thing to learn next then you will be able to learn in a faster, more effective way. Apart from personalising education to individual student, data analysis can help in matchmaking between the student and the industry. So the quality institutions of the future must be data driven, it means the decision maker in any institution should have the right data to support him in making a rational decision. They need to have enough data about themselves and about the environment to make the right decision. For example, the Arizona State University has built a campus wide data collection and data reporting system. So anyone will be able to go on the campus intranet and for example it is a professor looking to decide a class time, and so he will be able to see the data about the students, other classes and take a decision appropriately based on the available data. Data does not come out of nowhere. The visionary institutes need to make a move for creating a data infrastructure for themselves. Also when your students are ready to take up a job this data along with students’ studying data and patterns can be made available to the industry and the industry can seek the right candidate based on the data. This will increase the employability as it will inform the employers about the relative strengths of the students.

 M P Pillai, Director, National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT), Chennai

Tamil Nadu higher education department has taken a lot of steps by increasing the input for higher education sector and the input in engineering colleges has gone up by almost 800 percent that has led to a decline in the quality of education entering into these colleges and thus leading to unemployability. Most of academicians, including myself, do not support the stats that only 25 percent of our engineering graduates are employable. It has also to do with the fact that industry expects from day one the recruits to be productive, and that as soon as you are employed you should deliver that day onwards. There are three categories of skills that the industry expects are – Core employability skills, Professional skills, and Communication skills. This core employability and communication or soft skills it is common to all industries. To develop the professional skills in the students, which are industry specific, requires an industry input. Thus, unless we involve the industry in curriculum making or teaching it is not possible to impart the professional skills.

 VSN Raju, Chief Operating Officer, Globarena Technologies

When we develop skills among our students, we are building our country as 54 percent of our population is under 25 years of age. Employability skills are the skills required not only to gain employment, but also to progress within an enterprise so as to achieve one’s potential and contribute successfully to an enterprise. However, education imparted in majority of institutions is examoriented and not skill-oriented. At the college level, the academia should be able to provide basic communication skills, soft skills, aptitude sector specific skills through professional trainings to ensure that students perform better at the employment space. Apart from these some fundamental problems for employability skills development are the lack of industry exposure, outdated curricula and methods, dearth of trained and qualified teachers, and inability of the academia to keep pace with changing technologies and latest developments. As a result, education is not resulting in proper employment for a large number of students. There are two kinds of un-employability — lack of fundamental skills resulting in unsuitability for any job and lack of technical and soft skills resulting in under-employment. There is also a huge disparity in the student-teacher ratio leading to pushing of semi-finished talent to industries. Some of the possible solutions to the lack of employability include: effective career counseling, create awareness about traditional and emerging jobs, train faculty to leverage technology, evolve mechanisms for industry-academia partnerships to provide practical exposure to students, using internet technologies to provide access to learning resources and collaborate with academicians, industry experts, HR and peer institutions/ universities for specific skill training. 

 Amit Sharma, Additional Secretary,Government of Jammu and Kashmir

I believe that the fire within is very important. All the youngsters should strive to know what they are made for and the various lines available to them. In J&K we have a lot of initiatives as far as providing employment opportunities are concerned. For example, the J&K overseas employment corporation, which was started with the objective that our youth which is educated and skilled should find ways to access markets like the Middle East. This corporation came into existence three to four years back and we are coordinating with different ministries, overseas corporations and departments and we are trying to send skilled workforce outside also. I only request students to not have a typical mindset about employability in terms of job seekers. Try to go a step further and be job creators

 Dr Pankaj Gupta, Director General, Jaipuria Institutes of ManagementNo student is a bad student and no teacher is a bad teacher. It is all a matter of situation and perspective. There are students who think that in the three-four years after completion of class XII they would have a lot of fun, whereas there are many who are focused and clear about what they would do during these years. The most important thing is that we need to be aware of who we are and what kind of possibilities and potential is lying within us. Talking about communication skills, nobody is weak in communications; it is all a matter of igniting your inner confidence. Lot of learning, unlearning and re-learning is the need of the hour. The students should know the purpose of their life and what they want to do in life, at least in the next five years or may be during the whole day. You should also maintain a KASH (Knowledge, Attitude, Skills and Habits) diary for yourselves to be able to rate yourself on your learning from life at the end of the day. We talk about how much industry input should be there in our curriculum and we also claim that our curriculum has been vetted by the industry. But, how much of that industry curriculum is relevant for a student and how is it been taught in the classroom? So, you cannot depend on the system. Good make good students teachers and not the other way round. You need to be responsible for yourself. Be ahead of the professor, do your own study before you come to the class.
 

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