The Narendra Modi-led government, over the last two years, has announced many key programmes -Make-in-India, Startup India, Swachh Bharat and Skill India. The prime minister himself, through his addresses to the nation, is also boosting the morale of the youth in the country to develop the nation. He is actively working on building good relations with several nations. Due to these efforts, India attracted the highest FDI this year and also saw an increase in FII inflow. Today, India stands as the third most-preferred investment destination worldwide.
At the same time, the country faces several challenges; one of the biggest is handling the youth of the country. Foreign investment will lead to an increase in growth rate and also employment opportunities. So, the youngsters in the country must be equipped with necessary skills to benefit from these opportunities. Data conveys an increase in the literacy rate and the number of graduates and post-graduates across streams, especially in disciplines such as engineering and management.
However, corporate based in India are cribbing and complaining about the huge skills gap in the present-generation aspirants.
It is a fact that there has been a widening of the skills-gap, including among those who have completed professional courses. It is a major challenge for the country. We have marginal presence on the list of globally outstanding universities-except for some of the IITs and IIMs and an IISc, there is hardly another that can be compared with some of the institutes in nations like Singapore, China, etc. Our top-rung institutions are preparing the youth as per corporate India’s requirements. But the number of graduates from the IITs/IIMs is still very small. Thus, there aren’t enough skilled job-seekers, certainly not as many as corporate India would like. At the other end, a lack of skills is probably the reason why many graduates, post-graduates and even PhDs are applying for menial jobs in the government sector.
From its point of view as the country’s administrator, the government must think hard on whether it is advisable to keep creating more graduates and post-graduates with ordinary skills. In a country like India, with more than 700 universities, we can set a goal increasing our number of graduates and post-graduates and easily reach it. But what is the use of such degree-holders if they fail to contribute any value to the economy or contribute much below their potential? We are aware of the dynamics of businesses and the technologies involved due to which the markets are continuously changing. This issue raises the question of sustaining businesses, sustaining growth and creating value for the economy.
The government, regulator, educators, institutions and corporates must collaborate with each other to bridge the skills gap. The government must take up this issue on a priority basis. It must administer and monitor higher education. In fact, a reasonable number of start-ups have been established in metro cities to narrow down the gap. But, again, this is a not a comprehensive model and is not a part of formal higher education in
The government must study the success of countries like Singapore and China which created world-class institutions in a span of just 25 years. Such institutions are truly global assets. Now is the right time to build global institutions in India.
-M. Chandra Shekhar & Mohammed Akbar Ali Khan
Chandra Sekhar is an assistant professor (accounting and finance), Institute of Public Enterprise, Hyderabad, and Khan is professor and dean (former) Faculty of Commerce, Osmania University.
Views are personal