Skill Based Technical Education: An Urgent Need

Artical

Addressing at the “11th Annual Convocation of the Jamia Hamdard” at New Delhi in March, 2015, Shri M. Hamid Ansari, The Vice President of India referred to a survey carried out in 2014 which asserts that less than 20% engineers are employable for IT jobs and 7.5% are employable for core engineering jobs, even though more than 90% aspire for such jobs. These figures are indeed alarming. They lead us to think about the current status of technical education in India.

Presenting the key reason behind such paltry employability percentages, the Vice President said that it is because of inadequate preparation in the domain area, i.e. the ability to apply basic principles of say, computer engineering or mechanical engineering to real world problems. Today, the industry needs skilled engineers and our current education system is geared towards teaching and testing knowledge at every level as opposed to teaching skills. It is rightly said, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for one day, teach him how to catch fishes and you feed him for a lifetime.”  So, we really need skill based education which can prepare skilled engineers who can work in a global market place.

Here, the question arises, what can be done to impart skill based education? The first thing that we need to change is our teaching-learning practices. Our current teaching-learning practices are mostly exam oriented with focus on rote learning and memorization. We need to make them market oriented, that is to say we need to renew the focus on imparting vocational training alongside theoretical learning. If we want our engineers to fulfil the requirements of today’s market, we need to enhance their ability to understand and apply what have learnt in the classroom. Apart from teaching-learning practices, the curriculum, examination pattern, evaluation pattern, education policies etc. also need to be modified.

Our dear country India is blessed with the second largest working population in the world after China. In such a scenario nothing can be more disruptive for our social cohesion and sustained economic progress than a large army of educated, unemployed youth who feel disempowered, in every sense of the term. Hence the need and urgency of addressing this issue comprehensively, if we are to merge as a modern, progressive and prosperous society.

 

– Article by Jigar Abhani.