When the research firm Microsoft Surface did a survey, a few years ago, on the effectiveness of American College Education, the results weren’t encouraging. Over two-thirds of the surveyed university students expressed their concern over finding the right job after graduation. There was a high level of uncertainty, and fear about landing the right job and getting successful in life. The weed that was spawning this element of anxiety and stress was found to be a lack of career guidance in the spectrum of higher education.
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Crossing over to India – a nation that boasts of one of the largest higher education systems in the world (following China and the United States) – the situation remains sadly similar. Despite having a renowned and ancient root of learning and knowledge impartation that dates back to centuries, today our existing system of college education seems to be nothing more than a vending machine. You press the keys, pay the money and it will spit out a qualification certificate.
A Redundant System of Learning
There is a dearth of skill-based teaching at universities, where academics is more of a grading system rather than skill-development. Theories and exams matter. Students cram it all to pass the finals and come out bleary-eyed to face a highly competitive world.
There begins the second phase: repeating knowledge-acquisition but in the realm of career-based training!
Why do our students have to repeat this endless and redundant process of academic learning which rarely seems to get them anywhere? Why wouldn’t our varsities revamp, upgrade and re-align the educational framework with a strong foundation of career-oriented, skill-based training? Why does it seem like a Herculean task to introduce a technically advanced, technology-focused practical learning in colleges and Universities in India?
No doubt that technology has a huge impact on today’s job market. With advancements in digital technology, IoT, automation and much more, students are leaning on to independent coaching centres and institutes to equip themselves with updated technical skills and knowledge.
Playing a different Pipe: The Impact of EdTechs
The welcoming change is the recent uprise of a new education sector labelled as EdTechs or Educational Technology firms. These learning centres serve to fill in the gap between a complacent traditional education system and a highly advancing technological realm. Introducing an impressive range of career-based technological courses on diverse domains, EdTechs focuses on rejuvenating the disillusioned student community that is painfully stuck between a stoic academic process and a highly-demanding, skill-oriented global job market.
With well-laid curriculums that borrow heavily from the latest and upcoming technologies like Machine-Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity, Data Sciences, Digitronics etc., EdTechs succeed- to a huge extent -in hauling the derailed career map of students back on track. These new age learning institutes fervently seek to help fresh graduates and unemployed professionals with the necessary insights and the technical wisdom they require in order to fulfill their career aspirations and ‘foolproof’ their careers.
Most EdTechs ensure guaranteed job placement to their students, which goes a long way in ensuring employment to a considerable portion of the community of fresh graduates.
Realigning Education with a Futuristic Framework
The not-so-bright other-side of the coin is the lack of valid recognition for many such individual courses and coaching firms. As many of the online job training programs are not recognised and validated by the governments or Universities, they fail to carry the same weight as traditional college certifications when it comes to the job market.
Though highly beneficial than any regular graduate or post graduate certifications from colleges, The online/offline job-oriented certification programs serve and are treated by most students as optional courses.
If we must rework on our tepid college system of learning, there needs to be an integration of both the traditional and the technological educational segments.
The need of the hour would be to fuse these complementary sectors to build a united platform that would help students to meet the regular academic criteria of education while simultaneously getting well-versed in relevant technological skills needed for the job market.
An industry-oriented learning method that is consistently and efficiently updated in accordance to changing technological platforms will change the face of college curriculums. An integrated coalition with Colleges and EdTechs will serve to uplift the deteriorating appeal of regular graduation courses while in turn gaining the much-needed authorised validation for the online courses.
The two-in-one aspect of such a cohabiting educational framework would not only be beneficial to both sectors but also save students from a huge waste of time, money and emotional stress. They could finish their relevant graduations and be out “job-ready” and equipped to take on the world.