Thursday, August 15, 2013

Fixing the Indian Education System (part 1) : Institutes should have Industry Experts as Consultants.

It is beyond doubt that Indian Education System has failed completely. I have decided to write a series of blogs about the same. This is the first part and the first suggestion. Its also my first step towards my dream of establishing Indian Universities to their glory days of Nalanda and Takshsheela.

Questions like

  1. Why I believe that the Indian Education System has failed.
  2. Why it needs a fix
  3. What will happen if we continue with the same strategy as today
  4. etc

will be dealt in other upcoming blog posts. As for today we will talk about how Institutes should gain from their partners.

Institutes should have Industry Experts as Consultants.

Many reputed Professors and Researchers act as ‘Consultants’ to various Industries and Industrial Projects. They earn hefty amount of money and at the same time the Industry makes profits of its own. Its a win-win situation.

If that is possible why can’t we go the other way round?

It goes without saying that both Industry and Academia depend on each other. They both need each other to survive. Without one the other would soon perish. However in the recent times I have seen that the interaction between industry and academia is limited to Campus Placements and  Internships. To a little extent you can add Sponsorships during College Fests, a couple of contests, a rare Guest Lecture or a Seminar.

That’s the best that can be done? Probably not! What else? May be set up a Lab or have an MoU and provide executive MBA or MTech in return for better placements?

Though these are good initiatives but again is it the best that can be done? Definitely NOT!

With the New Government rules about having an MTech and a PhD as a necessary requirement to get a job in a reputed University (well coming from Engineering background I am giving references from Engineering Universities and Institutes though I am pretty sure the same will work out for other Institutes and Universities in General.) it becomes difficult to get good faculty in the Universities in India.

And what’s the pay scale? Specially compared to the pay being offered in the Industry? Not good enough right?

So what is the solution? Have Industry Experts and Consultants!

As a consultant Industry experts will help you device a syllabus which is better and well suited to the requirements of the Industry. They can deliver interactive sessions on latest technologies, things about working in Corporate Industry etc.

Many companies do organize these sessions and lecture series either as a part of their Employer Branding Initiatives or Corporate Social Responsibility or both. Many companies have a policy that forbid dual employment and hence such services are usually free of cost. Though there are many other companies who do not have those boundation and may charge a fee for it.

Another alternative is to hire Industry Experts as Full time Employees  as consultants. Government Institutes and Universities anyway get grants and funding from the Government and also earn from Government Projects. However, to do this I am not sure if the Director of Universities have been given enough powers to make this call.

In my opinion for Private Universities this should be easy. They are not bound by Government and can make their own decisions. They should appoint Industry Experts as Consultants. They can hire people from industry in full time positions or can have contract based appointments. Frankly speaking most private universities are business models. And they get good business. Their main concern is placements as that is what gets them students.

Private Universities have sufficient funds to invest in this program. If they do they will surely be benefitted. What Academia needs to understand is the fact that Industry needs skilled people not just people with degree. And who better than the Industry itself to develop the very skill they actually desire.

You may have a question “Why would Industry help this way?” “Why would Industry and corporates be interested in this scheme?”

I think there are multiple reasons. Few being:

Employer Branding : Every employer wants to establish their brand. With the amount of competition going around in the industry itself, every employer wants the best people.

Tax Saving : It goes without saying that Industry saves a lot of Tax in the name of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility)

Marketing : Students are not only potential employees but also potential customers.

Savings on Training : Most Industries spend a large amount to train college graduates (who have just joined as freshers). If they get students who are already trained, it will save them a lot of money.

Saving on Recruitment : Though this might not be the case always, but Industry will also be able to save money on recruitment. During these training sessions and interactions, Industry people can also identify potential employees thus saving not only the money but also the time on recruitment.

NOTE: The above blog post is my personal opinion and is based on my general knowledge and information.

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