Display of Numbers
Drawing on data from 60,000 graduates pan-India, an employability solutions company noted that around 47 percent of Indian graduates are unemployable. According to a McKinsey report, only a quarter of Indian engineers are employable. Other studies put it at a much lower figure and even as low as five percent. These are alarming statistics because they would significantly and negatively impact India's demographic dividend.
The singular expectation from university education is guaranteed employability and, thus, a return on investment. When this fails to happen, it is because the quality of education does not respond to market demand.
Triumph of Technology
In the meantime, technology has emerged as a game-changer. Breakthroughs in robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, 3D printing, driverless vehicles, for example, have triggered a revolution that is expected to transform everyday human experience.
Take robotic surgery, for instance. The surgeon can now carry out the most complex procedures with far greater skill, precision and dexterity. Robotics, similarly, is being used in the construction industry and it is argued that with robotic systems, output would be much more consistent accompanied by higher quality, speed and efficiency. In the military, it is estimated that the US armed forces could have more robots on the battlefield than real soldiers by 2025. Not only would these robots have deadly capability but, more importantly, their use would dramatically reduce loss of life among American soldiers in combat zones
In a similar fashion, 3D printing is already impacting manufacturing, the production of medical devices, the fashion industry, architecture and the automobile industry. The dramatic impact that the technology revolution is having and would continue to have is an indisputable fact of contemporary life.
Prediction of Prospects
The current trend would suggest that in 4-5 years time, when a student graduates, the job the person would do is yet to be created. For educators, this would prove to be a nightmare, unless they gear students up to anticipate uncertainty and have the ability to respond to it. This is not true of Indian education, however, because of its steadfast refusal to evolve and embrace new challenges and prepare for a rapidly changing world. Unless it does so, education would not lead to employability or job creation through entrepreneurship.
Reimagining employability is an imperative for India but its success is entirely dependent on how we redesign our approach to education. What we require is close collaboration between the corporate sector and educational institutions to create the work force of the future.