Employability of those who graduate from institutions of higher learning has always been a matter of serious concern, though there has been no scientific data on the subject. As a result, opinions are often formed on anecdotal evidence that does not provide a rosy picture. Thankfully, a private employability solutions company, Aspiring Minds, has recently done a study which found that half the number of graduates produced by the universities and colleges in India are unemployable in any sector. This does not show the Indian higher education system in a good light. In fact, the sectoral findings of the study are shocking, to say the least.
For instance, only 2.59 per cent of the respondents surveyed were found employable in functional roles such as accounting. While only 15.88 per cent was suitable for employment in sales-related jobs, 21.37 per cent was found eligible for jobs in the BPO sector. The study also found why half the graduates were unemployable. Lack of knowledge of English, poor computer skills and dearth of concept-based learning were major deterrents. The findings buttress the National Sample Survey Office’s conclusion that almost 7 crore Indians are either unemployed or under-employed. This constitutes a huge wastage of human resources that a country aspiring to emerge as the world’s third largest economy can ill-afford.
According to the National Association of Software and Services Companies, not more than 30 per cent of those who graduate from engineering colleges are employable. This is a corollary of the mushrooming of such colleges, which lack adequate infrastructure and qualified teaching staff, in states like Kerala. The prime minister’s addition of a fourth “e” for “employability” to “expansion, excellence and equity” that defines the mandate of the UGC should be seen against this backdrop. One can only wish that his government’s educational initiatives would succeed in reducing the number of the unemployable.