Bournemouth University's Report On Indian Higher Education Sector Suggests That A Staggering 63% Of Indian Students Feel That Their Existing University Curriculum Fails To Add Any Skill

The Report, which is authored by UK-based acdemics with inputs from various stakeholders from different sectors, also suggests that 67% of Indian employers are unsatisfied with the skills of fresh graduates

A fresh study on the conditions prevailing in the Indian higher education framework points out that 67% of Indian university students are discontent with the existing curriculum and academic structure at their universities. Moreover, 59% of the surveyed students denied having any access to employability and careers services at their institution. These students argued that despite knowing that higher education is a key element in equipping them with high-level skills and attributes, there wasn’t much they could do about the negligible exposure to practice-based education in their existing curriculum.

The ‘Global Talent in India - Challenges and Opportunities for Skills Development in Higher Education’ Report, which is authored by researchers at the UK-based Bournemouth University working with a range of Indian stakeholders including IITs, IIMs, University of Madras and the University of Delhi. Employer organizations that participated in the survey included Alibaba India, CNN India, Google, Accor and a range of entrepreneurs. Also, a range of influential policy-makers, most notably the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), Sector Skills Councils and the Department for Education in Delhi, as well as Madras, took part in this study.

The study looked at the Indian Higher Education framework from the perspectives of the five major educational stakeholder groups – Higher Education leadership, Students, Employers, Policy-makers, and NGOs. Academic staff and higher education leaders pointed to the current gap between the university curriculum and contemporary developments in the world of work; with 65% of them feeling that students in India are unable to apply graduate-level skills and competencies in their scope of work. 96% of the academic staff respondents felt that there is significant value in establishing international collaborations and partnerships. Employers and industry representatives indicated the lack of preparedness of Indian graduates for the world of work, with 67% of them feeling that majority of fresh graduates are unable to demonstrate the higher-level skills that they are looking for in their industry.

Primary investigator of the report, Dr. Sonal Minocha, the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement) of Bournemouth University, explained why she took up this subject for research. “Over the last three years, we have been working with a range of stakeholders from industry, academia, and government to develop insight and understanding of the challenges faced in developing future ready talent, which is needed for an increasingly global world of work. Rapidly growing economies with a large youth population such as India face a set of unique challenges in attaining their potential. We found a very clear higher-level skills gap in India, which is estimated to cost the Indian economy as much as $8.61 billion in lost productivity (PwC, 2014). Our Report offers preliminary findings for consideration by educators, employers, and policymakers in tackling India’s graduate-level skill development challenges. Findings from our Report sought to improve our understanding of the role of Indian higher education in narrowing this gap and provide some ideas for improving the productivity of its workforce through higher education.”

Policymakers suggested that a move towards firmly embedding disciplines such as entrepreneurship, innovation, and quality research, have the potential to scale up & support the Government’s efforts in skilling India. Yet, only 30% agreed that Indian universities have the required framework to provide students with new and industry-relevant knowledge. NGO representatives highlighted the current progress of Indian higher education sector in preparing students and graduates for the Indian workforce; 45% of the sampled NGOs suggested that majority of higher education standards in India fail to prepare students for the global workplace. Along with Dr. Sonal Minocha, Dr. Dean Hristov and Dr. Chindu Sreedharan, scanned higher education facilities in New Delhi, Pune, and Chennai, while interviewing and sampling the major stakeholders in the higher education system to compile the final draft.

The Report was released in Chennai during the 6th Edition of Festival of Learning-India 2018. This Festival is a part of the Global Festival of Learning that is being held in three cities of India – Chennai, Pune and New Delhi - before setting-off to China, Hong Kong, along with ASEAN & European countries. The flagship international festival of Bournemouth University, the Global Festival of Learning is a celebration of knowledge, culture and intellect wherein a wide range of issues related to education and career, along with their future in a globalized world will be discussed and presented to a wide global audience.

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