Are conventional educational courses getting outdated in India?

Rohit Chandavakar
Thursday, 19 April 2018

The Internet is buzzing with more and more case studies, of people opting to give up ‘so called prestigious professional titles’ and getting into startups, which earlier were looked at as ‘low esteemed activity’. Setting up a tea stall, launching a roadside food joint, offering services such as catering or laundry, are the kind of professions some people with engineering or management degrees are getting into. This perhaps prompts the question, ‘are these conventional degrees and the education provided under them getting outdated in India’?

The Internet is buzzing with more and more case studies, of people opting to give up ‘so called prestigious professional titles’ and getting into startups, which earlier were looked at as ‘low esteemed activity’. Setting up a tea stall, launching a roadside food joint, offering services such as catering or laundry, are the kind of professions some people with engineering or management degrees are getting into. This perhaps prompts the question, ‘are these conventional degrees and the education provided under them getting outdated in India’?

A news story appeared on a website recently about how for just over a thousand odd posts of constables in the Mumbai police force, over 2,00,000 people put in applications and thousands of them have medical, management or engineering degrees! 
This throws light not just on the fact that the economy is in a condition where these people with even professional qualifications have no suitable jobs but it also shows how the education being imparted in the professional degree courses has virtually no utility in the industry today and does not ensure employment.

The problem clearly is that conventional education is just unable to prepare people in skilling. When they enter the job market, it gets exposed that they lack any of the skills required for the job. So the high profile degree might be a good title to show the world but it does not ensure a job or growth in that job.
A senior management person working with one of India’s leading automobile company was quoted saying ‘a junior level recruit joining the company with a degree in mechanical engineering has absolutely no knowledge of anything and has to be trained from scratch as if he is a layman so we now go for diploma holders, who come at a much lower price’. 

Does this mean most of India’s educational courses have become outdated or useless where the candidates coming out of the college have not even the basic idea of the subjects they are supposed to work on?

In cities like Pune and Bengaluru, the drive among young graduates is to move towards IT-enabled jobs and software companies, but in dozens of cities in North India and eastern part of the country, the opportunities for engineers just don’t seem to be there! So while the proliferation of engineering and medical colleges means that almost everybody has a professional degree, the fact is the degree does not ensure any 
respectable job.

It is obvious that public sector cannot provide the jobs to the extent of the requirement. So self-employment is the way forward, but for that, skills is the crucial aspect. 

Though the government has taken up many projects to develop skilling in various parts of the country, the public at large still looks at a conventional university degree as ‘real education’ and the skilling courses have no respectability, this mindset must change fast. 

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