Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Employability training seems to be the next big thing.

A lot of money is being poured into making graduates and engineers employable. Large portions of the VC and private equity money being invested in the field of education is going into employability training. This is after students (and their parents) have spent lakhs of rupees and four years in colleges that are supposed to make them employable.

The fact that employability training is seen as the next big thing is disturbing for two reasons:
1. The industry appears to have given up hope that our colleges can produce an employable workforce.
2. 4 - 8 weeks of a uniform "employability training" is enough to make every student employable.

The funny part (I would laugh, if it were not so tragic), is that most colleges themselves have a separate 4 - 8 weeks course towards the end of the last year of college called employability training. What, may I ask, was the college doing to the students for the rest of the period?

In most colleges, employability training is a scam aimed at getting some more money out of the students. The college charges the student, dishes out part of the money collected to a third party (usually a relative of the college owner) who then comes in and talks about spoken english and business etiquette - something which does precious little to improve the employability of the student.

It is undeniable that graduates passing out of our colleges are mostly unemployable. When I talk to students, the first thing I realize is that most of them do not understand the context of their journey through college. Even the students undergoing professional courses, do not seem to understand that they are in college to learn something that will help them be useful and earn a living after college. The 4 years they spend in college seems to be viewed as an unpleasant vacation to be endured or improved through devious means!

I believe that the best way to make our students employable is to help them understand why they are in college, what the course will help them become and what they should expect out of a degree (other than a worthless certificate that signifies nothing more than their having spent 4 years avoiding work). This will help them introspect and understand their own strengths ensuring that they bring out the best in themselves.

Only when we treat each student as an individual will we have a diverse, well-qualified, employable workforce coming out of colleges. To just mould all students from all disciplines and streams into one universal shape that the industry demands that year will only lead to disaster.