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July - 2016 - issue > Directors Insight

Does Higher Education in India Make You Ready for the Real World?

Sonya Hooja
Director, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer- Imarticus
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Sonya Hooja
Absolutely not! The quality of education is in fact the cause of major concern in India today. There is a huge gap between education and the knowledge/skills required to survive in the real world.It has been forecasted that by 2030, India will be one of the youngest nations of the world. There will be 140 million people in the college going age group. One out of every four people will come out of an Indian education system. However, as per Nasscom, only 25 percent of technical graduates and 10-15 percent of other graduates are considered employable. Alarming statistics to say the least!

In actuality, it starts from primary school itself. Lack of space, poor infrastructure, outdated books and syllabi are only some of the reasons that have made the Indian education system so abysmal. After twelve years in school, a student is further pushed into a college for three years, which is just an extension of the same scenario. The result is an education that has no connection with practical life.Ironically, the imparters of education- the teachers per se have been through the same rut and are not adequately trained and so the vicious cycle goes on. In addition, careers in the teaching industry are not lucrative at all, leading to a dearth of good talent.

Additionally, we do not aspire for excellence. Very little budget is given to research and other initiatives that contribute to the upliftment of the educators.There is absolutely no industry and corporate collaboration, leading to many higher education institutions operating in isolation which leads to students graduating with no real world skills.

So what is the fix? Where does one start? Dramatic changes are required to make the Indian education work. New curriculums have to be specially designed in tune with the changing business and technology landscape and must include new agesubjectssuch as Analytics, Entrepreneurship and Ecommerce. Teachers have to be incentivized to upgrade their skills.Education has to be made accessible to all and be more holistic in nature. A real education is not what is taught in schools but what is experienced in the real life world. A real education should give equal weight to arts, humanities, science, social work and physical education. Merely marks or competitive test scores, which are the current focus of education in India, get you nowhere. This needs to happen in India. As Jean Piaget (Swiss cognitive psychologist) puts it: the principal goal is to create individuals who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done.

It is time now for our education system needs to reboot it and joint initiatives by the industry and academia need to play an important role. One such example of such an initiative is Imarticus Learning, who is a leading Financial Services and Analytics professional education company. Imarticus Learning program, while rigorous, are extremely practical and hands-on. They go beyond traditional role learning through their use of live case studies and real-life business problems. This ensures that the student is fully equipped with the required skill sets to master job responsibilities from the day one. All of this stems from its commitment to the philosophy of Experiential Learning. The company empowers individuals and large organizations in meeting their human capital and skill set requirements through a range of bespoke programs delivered through classroom and online learning. Imarticus has educated 10,000+ individuals globally, managed by a fully integrated online learning management and governance system. We need more initiatives in this direction. The potential is humungous and if harnessed effectively- it can turn India to be the super power it aspires to be.

Sonya Hooja

An MBA holder from INSEAD, Sonya Hooja is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at Imarticus. At Imarticus, she has developed business strategy, coordinated business development, implementation, as well as recruited top talent. She has launched placement and knowledge based programs to facilitated placements and up- skill individuals. Alongside, she has developed and managed the training design and curriculum, to ensure that it is in align to the industry requirements and constantly up-to-date. Prior to Imarticus, she has 10+ years of work experience at Accenture (Management Consulting), Goldman Sachs and the erstwhile Lehman Brothers.
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