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Nation Other News 11 Aug 2018 University: Knowledg ...

University: Knowledge haven or recruitment ground?

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | DR N PRABHUDEV
Published Aug 11, 2018, 5:55 am IST
Updated Aug 11, 2018, 5:55 am IST
Un-employability is a Bigger Problem than Unemployment! 
Universities do decently with knowledge transmission. They do dismally transmitting skills. 
 Universities do decently with knowledge transmission. They do dismally transmitting skills. 

Degrees-do they matter? 
Just Skills-are they good enough?
Degrees and skills take you to the ivory towers!
Degrees give you knowledge and the application needs skills! 
One without the other won't take you far. 

Universities should not be just factories!
I am seriously apprehensive about the universities as graduate factories. Universities used to be gateways to infinite possibilities, places of free thought and experimentation where young men and women could define and find themselves, expand their maturing minds, argue, develop ideas and interrogate beliefs.

 

The debate around employability and skills is important, but we must not lose sight of the critical knowledge creation and innovation the universities are also required to deliver.

Un-employability is a Bigger Problem than Unemployment! 

There will never be a dearth of opportunities, but there is always a dearth of talent! 

Universities are under ever-greater pressure to provide students with access to graduate-level employment by equipping them with the skills, knowledge and attributes. Employability is a part of good learning practice. 

Universities do decently with knowledge transmission. They do dismally transmitting skills. 

Is a degree the best measure of knowledge and skills needed for the job?

Skills development is among the greatest challenges facing country. It plays a vital role in promoting employment, economic growth, and inclusive societies.

Employers use degrees as a correlation between degree holders and minimum threshold of employability. A track record of skills makes your degree status more rewarding.

There is an academic inflation! As more and more people graduate from colleges, jobs that used to need only a bachelor's degree now prefer master's degrees. KSA-Knowledge, Skills and Abilities and personal attributes are the unique requirements in the person to be selected for a job. KSAs identify better candidates. 

Industry believes that it is important for universities to develop close relationship with them. Universities with industry links can promote employability.  

Universities need to be more "sophisticated" and "contemporary" while designing curriculum for the degrees and must move beyond sandwich courses and traditional placements. The shift of focus of employers' away from academic qualifications is a trend that has emerged in recent years. 

The Skill Map U.S. 2016 is an analytical study of the demand and compensation for approximately 200 skills in the US labor market. The report is a first of its kind to objectively present the demand for skills required by the industry. 

The most sought-after skills and traits in the US are Information gathering & synthesis, Agreeable ness, Stress Management, Finger dexterity, Manual dexterity, Extraversion and non-cognitive skills. 

University's Global Employability ranking 
Harvard University has replaced the University of Cambridge at the top of a global ranking that measures how universities perform on graduate employability. The list is dominated by US institutions-seven of the top 10 spots and 39 places in the overall top 150. 12 UK universities are in the top list.

Oxford graduates are widely regarded as highly employable. Broader knowledge and more holistic approach are possible keys to greater employability.

Education in India: 
Survey reports have revealed a vast skills gap in India, that 2/3 of all graduates are not employable in any sector based on industry standards. This has sparked growing concern about the mismatch between universities and the needs of the job market. 

There is a geographic mismatch, a sector mismatch and a skills mismatch" confining as many as 300 million people to low-productivity jobs.

Employers generally see a degree related to the subject discipline as necessary but not sufficient for them to be recruited, without skills! Universities are required to prioritize the creation of work-ready graduates.

The curriculum is outdated and there is a mismatch between university programs and industry needs. The gulf is widening.

National university of Singapore-NUS
NUS offer a global education that is broad, deep and rigorous. An NUS education is recognized as among the best. Whichever undergraduate or graduate program students choose, their experience will be intellectually fulfilling within and outside the classroom. Undergraduates can go on study-abroad programs at over 300 top universities across 50 countries.

Every year, 200 of its most entrepreneurial students are chosen to spend six months or a year abroad. Selecting from Silicon Valley, New York, Stockholm, Beijing, Shanghai or Israel, they work at a small start-up company in the day and attend classes in technology entrepreneurship in the evening. 

Upon their return to the NUS, they are housed in an entrepreneurial-themed campus residence and encouraged to share their experiences and to create their own businesses and products. The nice thing is many of them become mentors to junior students here and add to the ecosystem.

Teachers should get tech savvy or become history. Not using technology in classrooms is an educational malpractice.                                                        

EDGE- skills
l E- Expression- communication skills -are attractive for prospective employers
l D- Degree subject knowledge & skills
l G- Generic Skills
l E-Emotional Intelli gence and integrity to  developing effective working relationships.

A University degree will just make you eligible to apply. Students who excel in the total student experience - academic, co-curricular, extra-curricular, including work experience, become employable.

A selection of courses in the universities should allow a year of internship in relevant industry. This helps many graduates stand out both on their CVs and in terms of actual experience, which is often lacking upon graduation.

Should universities promote Employability and only teach skills! 

Yes but not exclusively!

Universities shouldn't simply respond to all that are brought to their door akin to factories adapting their machinery industrial products. The employability 'agenda' should not undermine the core function of university. 

Universities could provide a full endorsement of employability but universities should not be tasked with promoting it. The purpose of the university is transmitting knowledge for the core professions fostering scientific enquiry serving diverse societal interests. 

The role of universities
Universities should concentrate on knowledge creation and production of graduates in specialized areas of employment. University education isn't just about developing skills.

Knowledge is a crucial tool for overcoming underdevelopment. knowledge is not a commodity that can be bought and put to work with little additional effort. To achieve this a strong knowledge base needs to be created and nurtured. 

Is the Industry influencing universities towards skill development at the cost of basic research? Yes and No!

Opponents to the growing influence of business on academic institutions fear that the changes will inhibit research that produces new knowledge. Indeed, critics claim that these trends are dangerous for society as a whole, since they threaten the independence of universities, potentially compromising their ability to assess objectively the effects of new knowledge applications.

High-level research and teaching activities need to be strengthened. Local needs must be included in research agendas. This is science's newest Golden Age. Young people today are inspired by generational heroes like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. 

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