Ruing the mismatch between the skilled manpower the industry needs and the available talent, former president Pranab Mukherjee today pitched for world-class educational institutions and innovations to ensure that India's demographic dividend brings it dividend and does not become "demographic disaster".
Ruing the mismatch between the skilled manpower the industry needs and the available talent, former president Pranab Mukherjee today pitched for world-class educational institutions and innovations to ensure that India’s demographic dividend brings it dividend and does not become “demographic disaster”. Speaking at a graduation ceremony, Mukherjee said he was “dismayed” to find during his presidency that most of India’s over 763 state and central universities, over 38,000 degree colleges and scores of other institutes, including IITs and IIMs, were not in any reckoning in ratings by international agencies.
He harped on this point like a “parrot”, the former president said, stressing that in almost every academic congregation during his five years of tenure he took up the issue. Now a couple of institutions are being recognised as world class, he said. “I want each and every one (of the institution) be recognised worldwide and our academic performance should be at par with the institutions of world class,” Mukherjee said. He said there is a great need for skilled personnel and that a dichotomy existed in the education system. More than 50 per cent of India’s population will be below 25 years of age in 2022, Mukherjee said, noting that it is seen as demographic dividend but there is another side to it as well.
“But their is other side of the coin, other side of the picture is if we cannot provide them job, create employment for them, if we cannot skill them which the jobs require, and with the present mismatch… we have graduates, post-graduates (while) industry is suffering for skilled manpower,” he said. The former president said there is a mismatch between the requirement of the industry and the availability of educated persons in the market.
“So these improvements have to be made. There must be a close nexus between the industry and the academic and these interactions will help the graduates coming out of the institutions find themselves employable,” he said. He also lamented that India lack seriously in fundamental research and said no Indian scholar working in an Indian institution has been recommended for a Nobel award after 1933. Likes of Hargobind Khorana and Amartya Sen were working abroad when they received the honour, he noted.
Policy makers, academicians and leaders in the field of education will have to work to create a kind of ambience which will help brilliant students to go for fundamental research and innovation, Mukherjee asserted. “If we can develop spirit of innovation, if we emphasise on fundamental research, I am sure this demographic dividend will be truly dividend for us and will not be demographic disaster,” he said. Innovation is the way of life and main spirit of advancement of civilisation, and our system should encourage innovation, the former president said.