Various studies have suggested that employability of fresh engineering graduates has dipped significantly. As per a recent study by Manipal ProLearn — NxtGen Whitepaper: Embracing the Disruption — it varies from 41% in premier colleges to 17% in other institutes. The whitepaper revealed that only 12% of students pass the initial recruitment test administered during placements. While no one is addressing the employability challenge.
While artificial intelligence, cloud computing, data analytics, and IoT have been identified as top technology trends impacting the business. There is a skill shortage in these areas. Given the above context, companies today look for graduates who have technical aptitude, problem-solving mindset, learnability, and behavioral skills. They should be strong in fundamental concepts of algorithms, data structures, etc. At the same time, they should also learn to adapt to working in new technology areas. The students should also have early exposure to real-time projects in order to build their technical skills, get exposed to processes and terminologies and also develop a problem-solving mindset. This will help them “connect the dots” and see the big picture. Articulation and communications skills are of prime importance as industry demands intense collaboration with all stakeholders.
The greatest challenge today is that students concentrate only on scores and not on the problem-solving approach. Students from tier III colleges have lack highly in terms of technical competency, confidence and communication skills. Even students from elite colleges lack knowledge of basic programming constructs. The ecosystem in these colleges exposes students more to knowledge than skills.
Currently, the companies are having interventions in final year in terms of online learning, internships, instructor-led training, etc to bridge the gap between campus and corporate. But the current model has limitations as most of these interventions happen in the final semester. The courses can be integrated with the syllabus so that students don’t feel the burden and get credits for these courses from university too. These training can also be started much earlier in their curriculum so that they get more time to learn and be more hands-on.
Universities should bring a major change in pedagogy and curriculum with more focus on digital learning. Learning should change from physical to digital as it provides limitless opportunity. The prime focus for colleges should be to imbibe in students the culture of “learning to learn digitally”. The mindset of digital learning and being a life long learner has to be extended to the entire faculty members too. This mandates a change in the culture, environment and overall focus in the current education system. The universities should evolve a mechanism to give academic credits for online programmes so that the students can continue their learning even while in the job. Using the power of AI for personalized learning can also be seen as an option to overcome some of these challenges.
(The author is vice-president, IT-Education and Training, Manipal ProLearn)
Reference: Times of India