There is a huge gap between what academia imparts to the students and what the industry expects from young employees. The debate is an ongoing one with no consensus in sight. This article looks at trends in both industry and academia.

Firstly, one of the traditional views is that it is important to align the curriculum to the job market. However, it is observed that there is a performance gap at institutional level and employability gap at industry level. These two gaps should be addressed separately. One of the ways to bridge this is encourage and invite industry to connect with first year students when they join instead of connecting only at the time of recruitment. In the beginning of a graduate’s journey, mind is fresh, the industry needs to show what all opportunities are there for them.

Secondly, over the years the hiring trend has undergone a drastic change. Recruiters see whether the value system of the company resonates with that of the candidate’s. Whether the education system is doing that assessment in its curriculum needs to be seen.

Thirdly, from corporates’ viewpoint, many jobs don’t look at skills but at the fit of the person. Professionals believe that students should be self-aware about where they stand and whether their personality is the right fitment to be trained under the company’s fresher training programme. Fourthly, the biggest investment should be in the faculty as they are the conduits for transferring knowledge. One of the solutions to keep the faculty abreast of latest trends is to offer internships for faculty members to upskill themselves.

Indian educational institutions can also consider offering deferred semester to incorporate internships for students. Companies are keen on offering such internships but will the education system offer such flexibility and are the students open to this idea? Another solution is to offer at least a six-month long internship to students as a few weeks’ internship is not sufficient.

Educational institutions can also seek students’ views on the kind of job skills they want. The placement officer acts as a liaison between the industry and academia and can play an important role in filling in the gaps for the faculty.

However, the most important “Why” for the industry boils down to ‘business’. They need people with that mindset to generate revenue for their company.

Finally, the above scenario must be seen in the context of NEP. Neither the academia nor the industry knows how NEP will affect the recruitment drive. Who will decide on the internship and the final recruitment cycle remains to be seen. Further, in which year the pre-placement offer will be accepted by the candidate is still unclear.

Jain is Associate Professor, and Chattopadhyay is Professor & Dean, School of Management, Bennett University. Views are personal

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