India's private sector raises alarm that the country's economy
is suffocating from a shortage of qualified workers. In "India Labour Report 2012", it says that low
enrolment rates coupled with a lack of employability of existing
graduates have significantly curtailed India's development.
Lack of student enrolment and graduate
An HR expert writes that "[in India,] the issue of employability
is centred on two challenges. The first one is lack of access to
education and skills, and the second is rigour in education quality
standards. Calculated investment and new technology can take care
of the first issue. The second challenge is more about quality of
students which results in aspiration mismatch between skills and
Right now, "58% of [Indian] graduates suffer from some
degree of unemployability and formal on-the-job exposure is absent.
[Furthermore, the country has a] gross enrolment rate of 11% while
the world's average lies at about 22% and those of developed
countries at 54%."
Distance learning and community colleges
In the past, the government attempted at increasing higher
education access by fostering distance learning through meta-universities. Last year's analysis by Ernst&Young showed that this
mode of learning already accounts for 26% of enrolment.
The authors of "India Labour Report 2012", also favor this
approach. It should, however, be complemented by bolstering
vocational universities as well. Here, they refer in particular to
the practice of community colleges in the U.S. and Canada. In those
countries, community colleges offering practice oriented 2 to 3
year degrees cover 45% of all student enrolment.
"India's higher education challenge lies at the difficult
trinity of enrollment, access and employability. Community colleges
could be an important innovation. This mezzanine layer of two-year
programmes could increase enrollment by 8 million from small towns,
unorganised workers and the traditionally disadvantaged," Manish
Sabharwal commented. He is Chairman of TeamLease services, the
organization who created the report together with the Indian
Institute of Job Training.
Regarding India's polytechnic education institutes, the report
furthermore criticized the following:
- Non - availability of courses in new and emerging areas.
- Inadequate infrastructure facilities and obsolete
- System unable to attract quality teachers
- Inadequate financial resources
- Inadequate or non-existence of state policies for training and
retraining of faculty and staff
- Lack of flexibility and autonomy to the institutions
- Inadequate industry institute participation
- Lack of Research and Development in technician education
- Antiquated Curricula