A take on Employability
Standing at the cusp of old and new when all major systems are facing an upheaval, education can not remain unscathed. A system borne out of the needs of industrial revolution finds itself at cross roads, unable to cater to the rising industry demands of skilled man-power and nations’ needs of Human Capital. The once exalted academia is now increasingly under fire both from industry and regulatory bodies for its inability to perform and deliver desirable outcomes. Several survey reports specially one by Aspiring Minds, National Employability Report of 2016, paints a very bleak picture of Employability asserting that only 17.91% of engineering students in India are Employable. Over the last few years employability has become a grave concern for almost all stakeholders, with several reports pointing towards the Skills gap of budding graduates.
Employability Skills consist of a set of 21 skills first mentioned by ILO (Inter National Labor Organization). These skills have been much discussed by now and most prominent of them include:
Inter personal Skills: Skills involved in dealing with other people
Decision Making: Arriving at correct Decision based on Data or Experience
Problem Solving: Capability to offer solutions to problems
Analytical skills: Being Objective, and an ability to demonstrate an analytical bent of mind.
Negotiation Skills: To aim for a Win-Win situation in case of a tough bargain (Not simply listening to other’s ideas but convincing them of the validity of our own perspective)
Communication Skills: LSRW Skills (Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing).
Additionally it involves emotional skills like
Stress Management: How to manage our physical and mental state in adverse circumstances
Conflict resolution: Arriving at proper solutions in case of conflicts
Empathy: Being sensitive to problems of others
Proactiveness: Showing initiative in diverse situations, the capability to take charge.
All put together these are alternatively known as Soft Skills.
It is undoubtedly true that the current Education System needs to bridge the Skills Gap and produce graduates who are more employable, yet it leads to other more pertinent questions, like the role of Academia: Is it possible to have ‘One size Fits All’. The role of Education System will majorly change from pursuit of academics, to factories meant for the mass production of human capital.
In trying to Tailor Make the Graduates according to industry’s needs some where we are forfeiting the very premise of Modern Education: An innate respect for the individuality of a personality. Each individual displays differing traits. It can be reasonably put forwarded that one student may be good in Language but may not be good in Math and it can be other way around too.
The changes in Industry is also taking place at rapid speed , it can be possible that the skill set which is of great value today, may become totally obsolete in future, making it difficult for the young graduates to keep pace. Meanwhile it is equally important to acknowledge the role of experiential learning. There are many aspects of learning which are acquired over a period of time when one comes across certain situations.
Under these transformation which are taking place in education system, I feel, it would be best to inculcate in students a) A Life Long Learners Approach- where they can keep updating themselves from time to time and B) To make them good in at least one domain area through which they can suitably contribute to their future organizations.