Upskilling for the future

Unemployment is on the rise in India. One reason for this is the lack of understanding about market requirement among young people on the threshold of a new career. Education cannot prevent unemployment. A very large number of university graduates are unable to find jobs because our universities fail to promote the innovative and entrepreneurial attitude that is necessary today, not just for entrepreneurs, but also for employees. Though the number of graduates is increasing exponentially, their lack of requisite skills stands in the way of getting a good break. They have degrees, but no jobs. 

Growing disconnect

At the root of the problem is the disconnect between university education and the requirements of the industry and society. Most academic courses in our universities are heavily theory-oriented and hardly have any practical component. Add to this the inconsistencies in planning and implementation of economic development and lack of focussed approach to training human resources for specialised jobs, and we have the recipe for the mounting unemployment facing the country. So, despite the Make in India initiative, our graduates are always looking for jobs, mostly unsuccessfully, and not able to create any. 

The fast-changing economic environment is posing new challenges. In the new development scenario, entrepreneurship is becoming a priority on the national agenda in most developing countries. It serves as an engine for growth, employment and wealth generation.

The need to develop entrepreneurial skills to create new businesses, utilise unused capacities and develop new capabilities to solve economic and social problems cannot be over-emphasised.

It allows people, using expertise and ingenuity, to create opportunity and empowerment and generate employment and income. Entrepreneurship training can be done in different ways and by various methods but is most effective if it is included as part of the university curriculum.

Entrepreneurial culture

Our universities need to introduce a strong component of entrepreneurship development in their curriculum. Strengthening entrepreneurial culture on our university campuses can be one of the most effective ways of facilitating our graduates’ career launch. It will enhance social and economic development both at the local and national level. 

Introducing entrepreneurship education in the curriculum requires planning and research. It has to be a systematic and goal-oriented process. The objectives of entrepreneurship education in universities should be to introduce students to the concept of entrepreneurship and to develop entrepreneurial skills in those with the potential.

This would entail increasing students’ knowledge about entrepreneurial career and helping them understand the process of setting up and managing a new business; increasing their knowledge of potential businesses and start-ups; improving their ability to be self-employed, and providing an understanding of the role of new enterprises in the economy of a country. But above all, it would involve instilling in them the spirit of taking risks and embracing change. Entrepreneurship education has a vast potential to build skills and competencies and a good entrepreneurial teacher can inculcate entrepreneurial skills, knowledge and attitudes in his or her students. 

Innovative techniques 

But we need to devise modern teaching techniques to build students’ entrepreneurial capabilities through problem-based learning, industry-apprenticeship and proper funding. Appropriate teaching methodologies and relevant learning process must be identified and adopted. Teachers must be well-trained and motivated to promote an entrepreneurial attitude among students.  

Perhaps our institutions of higher learning could tie-up with industries and entrepreneurs to develop this entrepreneurial component in the curriculum. The joint effort would be mutually beneficial. It would ensure that students inclined towards entrepreneurship are identified and groomed. The skills and knowledge of the teachers could improve the competencies of entrepreneurs, leading to growth and strengthening of the economy. 

 

(The author is chairman, ICA Edu Skills)

  • Upskilling
  • College Education