Making students work ready!
Based on recent interactions at over 100 colleges in India, most students are unaware of what they should do post college. Even if they have an idea, they are largely unprepared with the skills and mindsets to get the job they are dreaming off. This past week, I visited colleges across Nasik and I was shocked to see that while the infrastructure was strong, students are in dire need of support with their careers. Most colleges in India don’t even have a functional placement cell or mandatory attendance.
- What the college can do: Colleges should collaborate with industry and open their doors to speakers, internships and live projects. They should incorporate activities such as field trips, rigorous lab sessions and practical projects. They can innovate and use best practice teaching methods such as flipped classes and case studies that encourage the student to drive the discussion rather than just memorize. This is applicable where the topic is science, commerce, humanities, law or engineering. As a practice, the colleges should encourage guest speaker sessions and build a mentor-mentee system as a part of their curriculum.
- What leaders can do: Corporate and government leaders can interact more with colleges and support them to develop a relevant curriculum. Infrastructure, resources and faculty training can be supported as part of CSR drives. Inspections can be done on a regular basis to ensure colleges are running classes effectively. Placement and internship opportunities can be offered to students and organizations should take the pain to train people.
- Role of students and parents: As a student, embrace your own development into a professional. Don’t see college as a time to relax, use these years to seek training, internships and mentorship and get ready to face the real world! Sharpen your skills. As a parent, encourage your child to attend college and utilize the vacations effectively through internships, reading and courses. Encourage your child to start working in their free time and shortlist a Masters program they want to apply for eventually. Help them chalk out the next 5 years carefully to ensure they are serious and on track.
Blaming the system is easy, but can’t be the approach we take. All stakeholders need to take ownership and ensure India’s future graduates are ready to take on their careers. Let’s take up the challenge and in our own way, contribute to solve this massive work-readiness crisis. We owe it to our nation and our future graduates!