Does today’s Gen-Y student value the knowledge that a collegiate education provide him or the skills that will help him be a trailblazer at his workplace?
According to panelists who debated whether India’s education system provided both, the consensus was that students themselves were polarised towards only one entity: either skills or knowledge. Besides providing education that has both, the panelists believed that students ought to push for both equally.
According to Symbiosis Principal Director Vidya Yeravdekar, students pursuing professional courses have a strong leaning towards knowledge and not much else. “Only 19 out of 100 youth get into our higher education system. Only 27 per cent of these are in professional courses and we know that there are a lot of graduates who do not get jobs. This is due to a lack of specific skills,” she said, while explaining an experiment tried at Symbiosis.
“We did not want technocrats, so our engineering students were asked to learn humanities, literature and a foreign language. There was an uproar,” she said.
After four years some of them came back to express happiness for having picked up a few extra skills, which other students simply lacked, she pointed out.
K Hariharan, Director of the LV Prasad Film and TV Academy, said the polarity was almost always seen in the film world.
The session took a lighter turn when actor Anupam Kher took centre stage. Regaling the audience by demonstrating how acting is an inherent skill that everyone had, he said, “The basic point of education is knowledge. But as an actor, it has nothing to do with skill. Acting has a lot to do with the skill of understanding human nature. You need to add your skill to education,” he said.