Making students industry ready

Making students industry ready

Dr Sam Pitroda

The Indian Merchants’ Chamber has been working with the National Knowledge Commission, leading universities and educational institutes to organise interactive sessions between technocrat entrepreneurs and students in Nashik, Pune, Kolhapur and Mumbai to bridge the industry-academics gap. IMC now plans to extend the project to Karnataka, Goa, Kerala and Bihar.

IMC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Knowledge Commission last year to ensure that knowledge is applied to promote quality of life and improve the delivery of public services for Indian businesses and other stakeholders.

NKC chairman Sam Pitroda said, “The Indian education system sorely needs  a revamp and could do with some out-of-the-box thinking as there are big disconnects everywhere.” According to him, education and training have become the biggest bottlenecks to India’s growth ambitions. “There is a huge demand for skilled people — MBA-holders, teachers, technicians, plumbers, drivers — but there is no supply. A country of our size cannot have only 380 universities. Today, information is readily available through a variety of mediums, such as the internet, CDs and books. Teachers need to play the role of mentors,” he added.

Pointing out that the equipment used at Industrial Training Institutes  (ITIs) is often obsolete, technocrats at a recent IMC seminar in Mumbai, pointed out that the administration must replace the outdated equipment with upgraded versions. IMC hopes to arrange for visits to ITIs by technocrats and engineers of new business houses to suggest the procurement of new equipment. IMC is also planning to take its experts to schools, colleges and other institutes for career counselling.

Pitroda said, “There is a huge challenge and a great opportunity ahead of us. Of course there will be obstacles if you want to change the system to build a new India. The system doesn’t want to change. So you have to fight the system.  If we do not change the system we will lose the window of opportunity for the betterment of this generation.”

IMC will continue to mobilise the services of technocrat entrepreneurs to interact and guide the student community in Tier 2 and 3 towns. IMC is optimistic about the employment and entrepreneurial prospects for skilled and semi-skilled individuals in industrial and infrastructural sectors such pharma and biotechnology, travel and tourism, building and construction, transport and shipping, and traditional sectors like agriculture, horticulture, food processing, poultry, animal husbandry and dairy industries.

Universities and educational institutes should periodically re-design their syllabi so that graduating students would be fit to start working without having to undergo any further training, suggested some entrepreneurs at the seminar.