In an intercation with Elets News Network, Subhasish Biswas, Head – Business Excellence, Wipro BPO, calls for a composite ranking of students on soft skills, extra-curricular achievements and performance during internships and not merely on theoretical knowledge
As an IT major, how do you view the skill-deficit at entry level?
The current skill deficit at the entry level can be attributed to the way our education system is structured. Firstly, it churns out a large number of aspirational youth adept at theory and rules but lacking business perspective as they have not been exposed to a real-world business environment. Secondly, as students are mostly coached on generic curriculum content, they lack domain knowledge that can be used at the workplace. Finally, and most importantly, they need to enhance their soft skills. In today’s concept-driven world, the ability to communicate effectively and make an impact is of paramount importance.
How should the academia- industry-government synchronise their efforts on skilling India?
The mission to skill India needs all these stakeholders to work in unison and re- model the current approach. The inclusion of ‘internship’ as part of the academic curriculum would play a critical role in this remodeling exercise. For example, the academic content in an engineering degree program should be refined to fit into a three-year time frame. Post this, the student should be expected to intern with an organisation for a period of one year. During this internship, the organisation should evaluate the student’s performance and certify accordingly. Awarding the degree qualification should be subject to successful completion of the internship. This effectively marries theoretical knowledge with practical implementation.
The integration of soft skills development programmes in the mainline course curriculum is another critical aspect of the skilling effort. This involves grooming students in skills like communication, articulation, presentation, and negotiation as well as conflict resolution in order to prepare them for the workplace. Organisations with in- house training programs that focus on talent development can play a pivotal role in extending this into the world of academia, supported by the regulatory framework.
Also, the in-house knowledge and expertise within organisation needs to be leveraged to build accredited courses that can be offered to students by universities. Besides, exposing students to the world of business, this ensures a multiplier effect across the board leading to better skilled graduates in India, which increases our global competency. At Wipro, we incentivise learning and skill training through bonuses as well as ‘Learn & Earn’ options in a variety of paid education programmes affiliated to reputed universities. We also have a Talent Transformation force that focuses on empowering employees with knowledge, skills and opportunities to excel.
How do you think educational institutions and students should be ranked based on their skill rather than on theoretical knowledge?
I believe that ranking students on theoretical knowledge is fine for the most part. However, the composite ranking should take into account factors that influence the individual’s success in the long run. These factors include soft skills, extra-curricular achievements, and especially, performance during internships.
What is the impact of Wipro initiatives?
Since its inception in 1985, the flagship learn-while-you-earn WASE programme has provided selected candidates a high value Masters of Science Degree from the reputed Birla Institute of Technology, Pilani. FinPro, a programme developed for preparing youth for the fast-growing BFSI sector was launched last year by the Business Process Services wing of the company and is provided free of cost to aspirants. Within the organisation, the SEED Program supports higher studies for employees through tie-ups with vari- ous educational institutes enabling em- ployees to secure a qualification of their choice. This programme allows under- graduates hired by the organisation to pursue their graduation while continu- ing their employment.