Higher education to play pivotal role in bridging skill gap: IBM Study

By Namrata Singh

MUMBAI: A majority of Indian executives believe quality and quantity of skills in the Indian workforce are comparable to those of other countries, with many reporting them to be superior. In a study conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value(IBV) in cooperation with the Economist Intelligence Unit, to evaluate India’s growing skills challenge and proposed recommendations to bridge the gap, 40% indicated new employees recruited in local labour markets have the requisite job skills.

Although the Indian economy has enormous growth potential and entrepreneurship has grown rapidly since 2010, the looming skill gap is said to be a major roadblock for the country’s growth. Indian executives surveyed highlighted that improved access to higher-quality skills will boost productivity and efficiency throughout the economy.

“Skill is emerging as the new currency across businesses globally and in India. Today’s rapidly evolving economic environment makes up-skilling an imperative across job profiles and sectors. India is caught by both a skill gap and a higher education sector struggling to keep up. That is why, it is critical to take proactive measures to transform the higher education system to create a new model that better aligns with industry imperatives,” said DP Singh, vice-president and Head – HR, IBM India/ South Asia.

Between 2010 and 2030, India’s working population is expected to expand from 750 million to almost one billion. Without adequate education and training, such population growth poses increased risk of the emergence of a growing class of the under or unemployed who are unable to achieve the Indian middleclass dream. In an effort to align India’s educational activities with industry imperatives and demands, the study recommends a transformation of higher education system.
Singh said IBM believes in providing an environment conducive to fostering new learning and development experiences aided by the power of technology and is working with government bodies, academia, corporates, start-ups and recruitment firms to equip India with a “job-ready” workforce. “We believe the industry is no more bifurcated into blue collar and white collar jobs. The ‘new collar’ job community is embracing technology, forging deeper relationships with ecosystem partners and acquiring ‘in-demand’ skill-sets,” said Singh.
The study recommends developing more practical, applied, experience-based education, rethinking higher education curricula by identifying opportunities to infuse experience-based and real-world learning experiences and embracing new teaching technologies and techniques. It said higher education institutions should build alliances with industry partners, share learning and refine strategies.

Source: Times of India

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