Colonial Educational Shackles Must Be Broken To Compete With New-age Demands

A major cause of the ever-increasing skill-deficit is the fact that India is still practising the archaic 17-decade old educational system set up by our former British colonial masters.

A gap in the skillset of what is required by the employers in India and the skills possessed by the employees are increasing every-day giving birth to “educated unemployment” on a large scale. With the world increasingly moving towards using new age, India needs to harness technology in order to provide jobs for youth. 

In 2019, during Union budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had stressed out that the young population in India needs to be equipped with relevant skills such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet, Robotics, 3D Printing, and Virtual Reality. She pointed out that the youth of India needs to rise up to the challenge of being a part of the global workforce as technology would play an increasingly important role in providing jobs.  

As per a report published by McKinsey, India has the second-fastest digital economy which can create up to 60-65 million jobs by 2025. Digitalization has led to a sea-change in how organizations work and keep themselves sustainable, it has knitted the entire world together. For example, A person sitting with a laptop in India can be working for a multinational firm in the United States.   

However, the grim reality in India is the fact that over 70 per cent of our educated youth remain unemployable, while the skills deficit rises to almost 90 per cent in professional courses. Also, not many have access to digital technology and there is a rising digital divide in the country. 

Right now, while the Coronavirus pandemic rages on- the educational institutes which are equipped with the new-age technology are able to carry out their educational sessions minimizing wastage of time, however, those who lack access to technology are lagging behind.   

An archaic educational system and its impact on the youth

A major cause of the ever-increasing skill-deficit is the fact that India is still practising the archaic 17-decade old educational system set up by our former British colonial masters. They had created the system in order to nurture clerks of Indian origin to comfortably run the British government. The British never wanted the Indian population to have a scientific temper to maintain their supremacy.  

Now as we enter into the second decade of the 21st century, the demands put forward by the employers are very different. The British educational system is completely outdated now. Still, in educational institutes across India, the same model of teaching is continued.  

As a result, educated youths are unable to find a suitable job due to a lack of skill set.      

Infosys Co-founder NR Narayan Murthy had said that in the past 60 years, India has not made any earth-shaking innovation which has been accepted by houses worldwide.   

A need to revamp the educational system 

Recently, some changes have been introduced by the government to change the archaic system of education founded by the British. However, it is going to take a long period of time to overhaul the current system of learning. In order to fasten up the pace for this change, the government may consider join-up hands with the private sector to introduce and fasten up quality vocational training. 

Also, instead of rote learning- learning by memorization, more emphasis should be given on creativity, original thinking, and innovative aptitude. Internet and technology should be embraced further as it has the ability to reach into the remote villages of the country. India has one of the cheapest internet facilities in the world and it should be extensively used by our young population for learning new skill sets.  

India is soon going to overtake China as the world's most populous country within the next few years. It will also have one of the 'youngest population' in the world with half of its 1.3 billion population under the age of 25.  

With proper schools, colleges and a revamped syllabus to meet the challenges of the future – these youngsters can be nurtured to be more proactive and practical. This, in turn, will help students indulge more in professional courses and land a job or even start their own business. 

According to an employability report published in 2019, currently, more than 80 per cent of engineers in India are unemployable as they lack the required technological skills by the employers. In the United States, around 19 per cent of the engineers applying for IT jobs can write correct codes while in India, the number is less than 5 per cent. 

The low employability of Indian engineers is because of the fact that the way of teaching is extremely theoretical and hardly practical in the way it is taught. 

Despite the current guidelines by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) rule of mandatory internships for students in technical institutions, only one-fifth of the institutions teaching engineering, architecture or management offer any kind of internship.  

Anil Sahasrabuddhe, AICTE chairman had mentioned that the council is, “facilitating internship programs of over five lakh students in established firms, start-ups and government departments but several institutes still need to chalk out their paths”.

Lack of experience and mentorship

The country is also facing a mentorship crisis, according to a survey conducted by Censuswide, over 70 per cent of young professionals do not have any knowledge about whom to ask about career advice. 

A culture of mentorship does not exist in India because successful businessmen rarely help small MSMEs find their feet. However, at the same time, following agriculture, MSMEs are the second-largest employers in the country and accounting for over 40 per cent of the country’s manufacturing exports.      

Though entrepreneurship is evolving in India during recent years, there is a shift in the types of skills and demands required by this industry. These organizations are now trying to inculcate talent with diverse backgrounds, strong soft skills as well as an analytical mindset. 

Alongside a lot of funds, another major reason which has impaired the growth of MSMEs in India is a lack of mentorship. For example, an entrepreneur who is good at developing technology might lack skills in other areas such as labour relations, accounting or fundraising – which can prevent the enterprise from achieving its full potential. 

India’s young population is its most valuable asset as well as the most pressing challenge. It needs to successfully channelize the youth to learn new-age technology to cope-up with the new age demands, however, this opportunity can be lost forever if it is failed to capitalize upon.  

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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