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BW Businessworld

Industry And Academia Connect Necessary

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What are the main hurdles in the education sector?
The higher education sector in particular has struggled over the last few years due to sluggish economic growth. The currents of change have propelled the sector toward, or onto, one rock after another.

Education financing is still very week in our country: A shortage of financial resources for higher education is amongst the key concerns in  this sector. The paper notes that only approximately 18 per cent of all government education spending or 1.12 per cent of GDP is spent on higher education, while the requirement is for these levels to increase to 25 per cent of the total education.

Employability: The Indian education system on the whole is not aligned to the skill and manpower needs of the market. Skills shortage across sectors is accompanied by high levels of graduate unemployment, highlighting the need to include employment-linked modules in courses. In addition to job-related skills, graduates are often reported to be lacking adequate soft-skills such as communication and inter-personal skills.

How can these be addressed by the upcoming budget?

We have a large youth population coming out of our schools and in UG. The economy needs to find a way to provide employment opportunities at a larger scale. One per cent additional growth in economy creates one million new jobs. Both manufacturing and service sectors needs to demonstrate growth. We also need to find ways for financial institutions to provide much easier access to loans, specially for higher education. Students need to feel confident that they can study on their own, without making their parents sell their land and property. Also, industry needs to be encouraged more to participate in academia. This will help bridge the employability gap.

What would be the recommendations for the government in this sector?
There are high expectations from the government and industry for improving the quality of higher education in India.
  • Industry And Academia Connection: Industry and Academia connect necessary to ensure curriculum and skills in line with requirements. Industry needs to be incentivized maybe through CSR spends and other methods to connect more tightly with academia. Only then can students become employable
  • Encourage New Models In Technology Led Education: There is a lot of willingness to innovate in the new professionals in the method of teaching itself in education. These new methods are far more student centric, lower cost, higher in reach and higher in quality. The government needs to encourage these new initiatives and find a way to regularize / accredit them so that they can gain credibility. The accreditation regime today follow a very traditional approach

What can be done to boost growth in the education sector?

India is today one of the fastest developing countries of the world with the annual growth rate going above 9 per cent. In order to sustain that rate of growth, there is need to increase both quality and quantity of students coming out of our higher institutes. This can happen with a greater focus on education financing, industry/academic connect and greater use of technology and innovative models of teaching.