Any idea, however big or small, primarily needs to drive innovation pushing boundaries that can help transform people's lives, create jobs and fuel overall growth in order to make the world a better place. Education, a fundamental human right,despite being the biggest driver of employment in the country still lacks the required attention from these innovators. As an entrepreneur trying to make things happen, it is difficult to find people who are passionate, motivated and have the right set of technology, management and soft skills to run a business smoothly.While the front runners are keen on providing opportunities to graduates,there are many major road blocks they face when it comes to the vast skills gap prevalen tin the education and job industry.
Most surveys suggest that a significant number of the degree holders are considered unemployable. Of late, it has been difficult to find entry- level employees with skill sets that are both current and relevant.Besides this,shortage of trained faculty, lack of access to practical knowledge and poor infrastructure are some of the hindrances for the education and training sectors in India. All of these have led to a demand supply gap that is making it difficult for students to segue from their dreams to reality.
Amidst creating companies, we often overlook the fact that education and training are at the core of every business and if stifled, will impact the overall health of various industries.India is a nation of growing businesses,professionals and leaders that can become a skilled labour force that supports the world’s growth, but it requires access to quality education at the core of global leadership and innovation. Upgraded education, training delivery system and infrastructure are as much a responsibility and need of businessmen and women as they are of the educational institutions, corporations and government. So here are some initiatives we can take into consideration in order to bridge the prevailing gap:
Incubators for education innovation
Many global leaders have been establishing centres designed to support growth and skills of up and coming entrepreneurs. A focus on education innovation will help support the growing demand supply.
Corporate Training and internship
The Government is collaborating more with private companies and motivating them to absorb interns/trainees so that they could provide practical knowledge and experience within a particular sector. This will not only improve the qualifications of the trained workers for potential future employers, but also provide an insight in ways of improvement and innovation that could be developed.
The mismatch of skills in the industry is undisputable but as an employer, one needs to invest in their own employees after getting them on board. Education is an ongoing process and fostering growth of employees will not only create loyalty, but also support the advancement of the company. To be effective, the training must be comprehensive and in line with the country’s and world’s changing standards. With this goal in mind, some companies are even promoting “Entrepreneur at work” programs to encourage the entrepreneurship spirit - where in the employee can build on the idea/innovation and bring to reality after a thorough analysis.
Creating Niche Industries
Factors such as globalisation, economy and technology have changed the landscape of education in the country while also bringing an opportunity for entrepreneurs to create new businesses.Niche industries have come up because entrepreneurs are ready to take risks, given their specialised knowledge in the particular field. These leaders need to further propagate such skills by motivating more people to develop deep knowledge of that particular field.
Nexus between education and the labour market
While the education system does take a test of memory, skill based training equips you with the analytical mind-set required. College education certainly needs to be accompanied with developing skills which are required at the workplace. Entrepreneurs need to act as counsellors to educators and the latter need to be more open to suggestions from the industry and understand their needs. Only an education-business alliance can bring about change by creating a synergy between the two.
Participating in setting up college curriculum
Companies need to collaborate with institutions to improve the curriculum delivery techniques and promote use of technology, teacher training and student exchanges. Additionally, they can also facilitate international tie-ups and teach students through case studies.
Amidst other things, technology is currently the biggest propagator of education for all. Online courses for example requires few teachers to address larger community of students, help ensure consistency in the quality if delivery, enable flexibility, affordability and scalability. It not only fills in the demand-supply mismatch, but also promotes the much needed concept of personalized education, where the education provided to a student is in line with the needs of the student.Innovators are developing new ways of supporting the demand for education across the country and we should continue to encourage and support educational entrepreneurs.
The demand-supply gap instead of being looked at as a problem, should be transformed into an opportunity for the growth of the economy. In fact, the birth of more entrepreneurs focused on solving this gap will create more employment opportunities in itself. An increasing problem is that a large number of students don’t even go to high school, and end up dropping out which is an opportunity to address this education gap. As entrepreneurs, we need to take the onus of spreading awareness and motivate students about the changing needs of the industry and the market. Recently, I had the opportunity to give a talk to and interact with students from various institutions such as BIT-Mersa, Bombay Stock Exchange Institutions, and hundreds of students from high schools such as at St. Xavier in Ranchi. Providing guest lectures, free seminars and webinars are a few things amongst others which we need to take up in order to make people more aware. As a country with a huge population, we need to put it to our advantage by skilling up the nation to the extent that it caters to the needs of the industries beyond India.