IT panel for Indian student aid agency to foster talent

 
This, says the taskforce, which recently submitted its report, will encourage students and working professionals to pursue further education for skill enhancement by providing tax incentives.

The agency, it observes, should be responsible for disbursing needs-based funding to students through grants, loans and work-study (earn-while-you-learn) programme. According to the report, the dual objective of the scheme should be to ensure that no student is denied access to education because of weaker economic background and that enrolment in higher education reaches 40 to 50 per cent by 2020. Further, as part of Talent Supply action plan, it has called for introduction of soft-skills programmes across universities in the country in partnership with the private sector.

This is aimed at structurally strengthening the prevailing education system in India which is constrained by lack of adequate capacity and number of institutions. Supply of graduates in India is growing at around 5 per cent annually as against the current average employability rate of 26 per cent for engineering graduates, 10 to 15 per cent for other graduates.

Talent crunch

Also the declining willingness to work in the IT industry (from current 80 per cent to 60 per cent in 2020 for IT & engineering graduates and 65 per cent to 45 per cent in 2020 for other graduates), the report says, will lead to a talent shortage of over 2 million by 2020.

Observing that both the government and the industry must take short-term and long-term initiatives to address the gap if the industry is to realise its full potential, it notes that the Eleventh Plan allocation of around US$6 billion (Rs 19,282 crore) for higher education is low compared with anticipated requirement of over US$55 billion (Rs 212,900 crore).

As a part of policy action to strengthen the education system, it calls for making under-graduate and post-graduate programmes credit-based and standardised nationally, introduction of electives and add-on programmes in colleges. It has also suggested that second Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme, a Rs 1,550 crore world bank funded initiative, be made available to all 2,000 engineering colleges and national faculty deployment programme for engineering and non-engineering colleges, for short, medium and long term, be deployed. Likewise, to build domain specialisation, it has called for launching and scaling up technology and BPO specialisation across all vocational training institutes.

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