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India needs to aim for global excellence in education

Campus placement season is here and the news is that graduates from the top campuses in India, especially the IITs, have received six figure pay packets and job offers in the US. However, looking beyond the top 200 engineering schools in India, pay packets are not looking too promising. The reason is the emergence of new engineering schools in tier-2 and tier-3 cities in the last 10-15 years. A majority of them are producing hire-worthy graduates. However, their remote location often leads to few recruiters approaching these colleges, despite knowing it would mean missing out on brilliant talent. This upsets the demand-supply equation.

Feb 4, 2018
By Sanjiv Kataria
 
Campus placement season is here and the news is that graduates from the top campuses in India, especially the IITs, have received six figure pay packets and job offers in the US. However, looking beyond the top 200 engineering schools in India, pay packets are not looking too promising. The reason is the emergence of new engineering schools in tier-2 and tier-3 cities in the last 10-15 years. A majority of them are producing hire-worthy graduates. However, their remote location often leads to few recruiters approaching these colleges, despite knowing it would mean missing out on brilliant talent. This upsets the demand-supply equation.
 
The recent revival of economic indices - manufacturing, core sector expansion, merchandise exports - will bring cheer to the graduating students. Fast-tracked infrastructure projects and the growing global digital economy - from steel maker Tata Steel, infrastructure major L&T to IT sector - will create new jobs in 2018 and beyond, to improve the hiring mood. New job openings in digital technologies, e-commerce and artificial intelligence in IT too will absorb fresh talent.  
 
India’s biggest IT outsourcing market the United States has clarified that visa restrictions for Indian professionals will not be stiff.  Consulting major EY sees the recently liberalized FDI policy in single brand retail, construction and civil aviation as helping to attract higher FDI leading to higher job openings in the medium term.
The engineering and management education accrediting body, AICTE, has mandated engineering colleges to offer their students a semester long industry internship. Simultaneously, AICTE has approached assessment platforms like HireMee to assess engineering students to discover aptitude, logical reasoning, communication and core technical skills. This will help potential employers access students from lesser-known, remote engineering colleges for suitable openings.
 
This project can lead to democratisation of job opportunities as it comes without any cost, either to students or the colleges.
 
The results of a proctored computer assisted test by HireMee, using a comprehensive assessment framework, will present to recruiters different dimensions of personality and behavioural styles.
 
India is committed to help identify the top 20 higher education institutions of eminence to achieve excellence at a global level and empower them to compete with their international counterparts. These institutions will be free to enter academic collaboration with the top 500 institutions in the world, enjoy flexibility, set course structure, curriculum and syllabi. These moves will enable Indian students to get world-class education and research facilities within the country
 
The education policy makers are working together to ensure that the curriculum is in tune with market requirements. The change of curriculum will keep pace with the new technology, subjects and skills required today. This is where behavioural assessment can play a big role in checking suitability for jobs. The education system will have to introduce among students a new learnability trait that will instil among them willingness to anticipate and accept change. Once out of the education system and in jobs they will have to keep alive a strong desire to master new technologies, new skills. “The challenge is to balance the requirements of the core engineering foundations with add on non-engineering skills. The future will belong to super specialists with adequate width,” says Prof Manoj Datta of IIT Delhi, who served as Director of PEC University of Technology, Chandigarh.
 
Setting up of innovation labs and entrepreneurial opportunities will make many of these job seekers as job providers. These efforts in rationalising, re-building and strengthening Indian higher education system offer no shortcuts and could take years. The key is to stay focused and committed to achieving global excellence in education. 
 
(The author is an educator and strategic communication professional.He can be contacted at sanjiv.kataria@gmail.com )

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