Editors : Prof. P.S. Yadapadithaya, Prof. A.Raghurama,
Prof. Y. Muniraju, Dr. Ishwara P., Dr. Vedava P.,
Dr. Preethi Keerthi D'Souza, Dr. Parameshwara
Pages : 440
Indian business is operating in a highly complex, competitive and turbulent socio-economic, politico-legal, technological and cultural environment. The vast changes that are taking place on a continuous basis in the Indian business environment offer both challenges and opportunities to earn and sustain competitive advantage with a passion for excellence. It is quite disheartening to note that there exists a serious mismatch between the demand for employment and supply of human resources. India is truly rich in terms of human resources with a huge youth population called ‘demographic dividend’ compared to the rest of the world. But the disturbing question is: ‘are they really resourceful?’ The paradoxical situation is that many organizations have left numerous vacancies unfilled for want of not only qualified but more importantly multi-skilled, flexible, talented, committed and competent persons.
Unfortunately, ‘qualification’ which is measured in terms of academic degrees and grades are not matching the ‘competencies’ defined and determined by the employment market. Hence, employability has become the catch-word of all and scapegoat of the situation.
In this fast changing business world, the shelf-life of competencies (knowledge, attitudes, skills, habits and values) is always short-lived and as such the existing knowledge suddenly becomes outdated, skills obsolete, attitudes untenable, values unpardonable and learning habits unsustainable.
The current scenario of higher education in general and business education in particular orients the students to ‘answer the questions’ (from kindergarten to post-graduation) rather than to ‘question the answers’; the teacher-centric, syllabus-bound, examination-oriented teaching-learning-evaluation processes resulting in short-term academic knowledge acquisition programme without any practical applicability, transferability and sustainability in learning. The oft quoted cardinal principles of Indian higher education: ‘expansion, inclusion and excellence’ are worth appreciating but they are unable to find clear-cut expressions with a logical end in our educational policies and practice. Of course, the New Education Policy and the National Curriculum Framework intend to focus on developing human values, soft skills and holistic personality development so that it can facilitate human and social transformation by eliminating, if not at least reducing the unpleasant gap between ‘qualification’ and ‘competency’. Educational planning and human resource development need to be linked with the sustainable national development.
At this juncture, it is worth-quoting Swamy Vivekananda in the following words:
“We want that education by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded and by which one can stand on one’s own feet. Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man”.
True education must facilitate the process of unleashing human potential within every student. In the fitness of things, the UNESCO’s International Commission on Education for the Twenty-First Century also recognized this fact and identified the four pillars of education: learning to know, learning to do, learning to live together, and learning to be. According to Prof. D.P. Singh, the Director, NAAC, Universities and higher educational institutions need to rediscover themselves with a sense of purpose, pride and direction. As a matter of fact, university is a place where new ideas germinate, strike roots and grow tall and sturdy. It is a unique space, which covers the entire universe of knowledge. It is a place where creative minds converge, interact with each other and construct visions of new realities. Established notions of truth are challenged in the pursuit of knowledge. Higher education is supposed to equip every person with the capacity for advanced learning, critical and creative thinking, reflective observation and cultivating the habit of lifelong learning. The current curriculum, pedagogical tools and techniques, and classroom-based teaching-learning-evaluation processes failed to deliver the intended learning outcomes.
There exists an imperative need to measure and assess the needs, wants, preferences, demands and expectations of both the job-providers (potential employers) and job-seekers (prospective employees). Further, industry-academia interaction is conspicuously missing and at best, it is only symbolic and rhetoric. To add fuel to the fire, the student’s general mindset is in favour of seeking only ‘salaried jobs’ rather than undertaking self-employment oriented entrepreneurial initiatives resulting in a paradox of ‘too many people chasing too few jobs’.
Research studies have already revealed that the students (graduates and post-graduates) who were given non-academic/ non-technical training in soft skills in addition to regular academic teaching and learning performed better in campus recruitment drives compared to their counterparts without such training. Further, even though some positive correlation existed between their scores/ grades in entry-level qualification, there was no relationship between their academic grades in graduation/ post-graduation degrees and success in campus recruitment drives.
Education will become truly liberating, empowering, enabling and socially reforming, only when it begins to encourage students to think for themselves, question, debate, and form their own opinions.
Non-academic/ non-technical training is needed in different types of soft skills for enhancing the employability of students such as personal and interpersonal effectiveness through personality lab; effective communication skills; human relations skills; assertiveness skills; leadership and teambuilding skills; coaching, mentoring and negotiation skills, conflict resolution techniques; problem-solving and decision-making skills; verbal and logical reasoning; public relations skills; preparation of CV/ resume, art of facing an employment interview; case analysis and group discussion skills; conducting meetings and recording observations; time management and stress management.
It is a matter of serious concern that those leaving higher education are not properly and adequately equipped for the world of work. Academic grades may be influential in predicting the performance appraisal in the early years of the career but not a valid predictor of job performance in later years. In this context, the pertinent questions include the following:
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