What Indian students should not expect from their institutions and need to develop in themselves

Sunday, July 31, 2011 , Posted by Anugrah Narain at 10:46 PM


It is unfortunate that those who manages institutions and universities in India do not think about the future of students and they feel by delivering outdated university curriculum in very old fashioned bookish and spoon feeding way of teaching and talking about the glorious past of our country, and finally by giving away a piece of paper called "degree" they have done their duties as so called "academicians" !

It is even more unfortunate that these 'academicians' only emphasize on studying theories over applications and feel 'scholarly activities' and so called 'research' in educational institutions much more than imparting Employability skills among students although neither those 'scholarly activities' nor those 'researches' had any innovations that will benefit mankind other than just talking about those. This debate gets dangerous and the academicians take the names of few institutions of India where only India's finest students get admissions based on their IQ and numeric skills but not based on their emotional intelligence!

Where is the vision about life, career, future and society among the students which should ideally come from the teachers, where is the innovation, self confidence, exposure, openness of mind and global vision ?

Many scholarly research endeavors have been made in the area of knowledge, education and learning within the context of a institute. The debate about the role of an academic institution is rich and revealing. An education expert, Robert Wolf proffers four models for the ideal university which is also applicable to any academic institution:

  • the academic institution as a sanctuary of scholarship
  • the academic institution as a training camp for future industry professionals
  • the academic institution as a social service center and
  • the academic institution as an assembly line for established 'men and women.'

In-depth research also indicated several gray areas in the recruitment process conducted by the companies which was reconfirmed by the recent actions by several leading IT & ITES giants when they retrenched over 800 employees across the country on the basis of 'non-performance' including those who were 3 to 4 years old. This also focus on several other hard facts

  • Academics is yet to impart with the career related skills.
  • A large number of students are conceptually unclear about career issues.
  • High marks and getting job do not guarantee that one can retain it.
  • A more holistic approach and learning beyond 'employability' training.

Till date, most of the higher education institutions in India ignored a very important area of enhancing the skills of the gurus, the Faculty development programs. Many institutions feel this to be 'waste of time and resources' and most of the gurus feel that once they are teaching in such higher level, there is 'no need of further training'!

As a result what are really missing in our education

—  -The market reality (so not really market driven)
—  -Vision (except in prospectus or on display in reception)
—  -Contemporary curriculum with focus on developing professional skills
—  -Standard teaching practices
— - Most of the "global" practices
—  -Inability to think rationally and act differently
—  -Inability to impart vision  (self-development/ self-learning/ attitude/ grooming)
—  -Academic leadership & quality faculty
—  -Dynamism and long term thinking

What Indian institutions do not teach ...

—  -Lessons on Time management and Priorities.
—  -Lessons on commitment, hard and smart working.
—  -Lessons on common sense, gut instinct, confidence and foresight.
—  -Lessons on managing stress, depression, crisis and change.
—  -Lessons on honesty, communicating, negotiating and interviewing.
—  -Lessons on people management, practical aspect of dressing.
—  -Lessons on art of networking and entertaining people.
—  -Lessons on entrepreneurial attitude.
—  -Lessons on global vision, process mindset and balancing EQ & IQ.
—  -Lessons on holistic thinking and growth.

Importance of Employability skills training for the Indian students

After years long research and analysis our associate consultants with extensive global competency and employability training experience have developed the integrated training program suitable for Indian and South Asian engineering and management students based on the following list of employability skills lately referred to as 'soft skills' which is different by far from what people used to refer as 'soft skills', even a year back. To be precise, it's based on Competencies Framework and featured an Employability Skills Framework identifying nine key Employability Skills :

These refer to one's ability to do the job and are sometimes called 'hard skills'. They might include such things as :

  • Technical ability
  • Knowledge
  • Qualifications

The assumption is sometimes made that discipline specific skills are more important than employability skills. However, in today's world where knowledge (discipline specific) rapidly becomes obsolete the ability to identify, access, network and communicate new information (employability) is vital for career success.

  • Initiative
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Problem solving
  • Initiative and enterprise
  • Planning and organizing
  • Self-management
  • Learning
  • Technology

Initiative

- Adapting to new situations
- Developing a strategic long-term vision
- Being creative
- Identifying opportunities not obvious to others
- Translating ideas into action
- Generating a range of options
- Initiating innovative solutions.

Teamwork

- Working with people of different ages, gender, race, religion or political persuasion
- Working as an individual and as a member of a team
- Knowing how to define a role as part of a team
- Applying teamwork skills to a range of situations eg, crisis
- Identifying strengths of team members
- Coaching, mentoring, and giving feedback.

Problem Solving

- Developing creative, innovative solutions
- Developing practical solutions
- Showing independence and initiative in identifying problems and solving them
- Solving problems in teams
- Applying a range of strategies to problem solving
- Using mathematics including budgeting and financial management to solve problems
- Applying problem-solving strategies across a range of areas
- Testing assumptions, taking the context of data and circumstances into account
- Resolving customer concerns in relation to complex project issues.

Planning

- Managing time and priorities - setting timelines, coordinating tasks for self and others
- Being resourceful
- Taking initiative and making decisions
- Adapting resource allocations to cope with contingencies
- Establishing clear project goals and deliverables
- Allocating people and resources to tasks
- Planning the use of resources including time
- Participating in continuous improvement and planning
- Developing a vision and a proactive plan to accompany it
- Predicting - weighing up risk, evaluating alternatives, applying evaluation criteria
- Collecting, analysing, and organising information
- Understanding basic business systems and their relationships.

Communication

- Listening and understanding
- Speaking clearly and directly
- Writing to the needs of the audience
- Negotiating responsively
- Reading independently
- Empathising
- Using numeracy effectively
- Understanding the needs of internal and external customers
- Persuading effectively
- Establishing and using networks
- Being assertive
- Sharing information
- Speaking and writing in languages other than English.

Technology

- Having a range of basic IT skills
- Applying IT as a management tool
- Using IT to organise data
- Being willing to learn new IT skills
- Having the occupational health and safety knowledge to apply technology
- Having the appropriate physical capacity.

Self-Management

- Having a personal vision and goals
- Evaluating and monitoring own performance
- Having knowledge and confidence in own ideas and vision
- Articulating own ideas and vision
- Taking responsibility.

Learning

- Managing own learning
- Contributing to the learning community at the workplace
- Using a range of mediums to learn - mentoring, peer support, networking, IT, courses
- Applying learning to technical issues (eg, products) and people issues (eg, interpersonal)
- Having enthusiasm for ongoing learning
- Being willing to learn in any setting, on and off the job
- Being open to new ideas and techniques
- Being prepared to invest time and effort in learning new skills
- Acknowledging the need to learn in order to accommodate change.

P:S: This article is contributed by(Prof. (Dr.) Sudhi Ranjan Dey.He  is a graduate of Calcutta University and DBA in Consumer Behavior and MBA in Marketing & HR from Europe. He is the CEO of Gurgaon based Global management Xperts which is a pioneer training organization in India in the field of Academic leadership, Employment Enhancement and Professional Efficiency and Effectiveness Enhancement among freshers. Sudhi has over 30 years of global industry experience, held senior positions with Toyota, Nissan, General Motors, Sony, Ford, Sony Music, etc., lived across 17 countries, worked in 33 countries across 4 continents and visited 69 nations.)

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