Vijay Pasupulati is an edupreneur and a votary of technology who serves as the CEO of GreyCampus and OdinSchool. Former CEO of Winzest Edutech Private Ltd. and the former Vice President at Goldman Sachs, Pasupulati discovered his love for edupreneurship during the 2008 global economic crisis. GreyCampus, his first brainchild, is a global player in the edtech industry that powers people’s careers in technology and business areas. With over 7 years of experience in the market, his organization has now trained more than 100,000 professionals across 50 countries. An alumnus of New York University Stern School of Business, Vijay Pasupulati holds an MBA in Finance, Information Systems from NYU and BTech from NIT, Warangal.
Should India be alarmed about its current skill gap? Experts say it should be. With the economy looking shaky and uncertain, India’s skill shortage is a severe threat that needs to be addressed immediately. 53 percent of Indian organizations could not fulfill their hiring needs in 2019, due to the shortfall of skills. Though the majority of India’s population is youth, the country has not been able to leverage the potential of its demographics.
What the Indian industry is in dire need of is a skilled workforce that has received industry-relevant training. This is where job-aligned online education comes in. Read on to find out how online education can bridge the skill gap in India.
Skill Gap in India
A skill gap refers to the discrepancy in the demand and supply areas of the employment market. It is the mismatch between what the employers require and what the workforce brings to the table. Where did India go wrong? According to experts, the dearth of skills in India stems from its inadequate education system.
The current skill gap in India is huge. While the industry continues to grow at a breakneck speed, the education sector struggles to update and cope with the ever-evolving requirements of a new-age work environment. In fact, there is no dearth of opportunities for professionals who upskill themselves in the right way and put in the required effort. Though the Indian curriculum may seem comprehensive, it does not make learners job-ready; nor does it give them industry-aligned education.
Jobs in the technology domain are on the cusp. The service sector relies on new-age business and technical skills. With digital transformation taking the country by storm, this sector spawns a number of future skills-oriented jobs. Unfortunately, most of these roles need consistent reskilling and upskilling, owing to the dynamic nature of technology.
How does the present skill gap affect the country? As the rift continues to grow, there will be a pronounced increase in the unemployment and underemployment rate. The low employability rate will lead to a decrease in productivity and an increase in the disparity in pay scales. The dearth of future skills will also discourage Indian organizations from adopting innovative technologies; in consequence, they will generate products of substandard quality.
Does the unskilled population become a financial burden? Yes, it does. The government will have to provide for the unemployed working-age population through various social security schemes. This will eat away the fund meant for important developmental activities, including social and civic amenities.
Why Conventional Education Won’t Fill the Gap
Thanks to the pandemic, online education has become the norm even in the second and third-tier cities and towns in India. In fact, the pandemic has fast-tracked technology adoption at the grassroots level, which in turn has opened up huge opportunities for upskilling. This is a good thing because traditional ways of learning are not as effective as online education for a host of reasons. Here are some of them:
- The dearth of high-quality instructors
The traditional education system restricts the reach of instructors. Add to that the fact that India currently faces a shortage of quality teachers. In such a situation, it is a huge challenge for good instructors to reach the large youth population in the country. This means that good quality education becomes highly concentrated in the small areas where good teachers are available.
- Inadequate emphasis on practical learning
Practical exposure is extremely crucial to help students learn contextually. Unfortunately, In traditional learning, little to no importance is assigned to practical skills; it is sadly all about clearing tests and scoring marks. Unless students get to apply their methods in real-life scenarios, they will not acquire a foundational understanding of concepts.
- Absence of skill-based education
An industry-aligned learning experience should focus on innovation, creativity, and out-of-the-box thinking. But traditional education favors theoretical knowledge over skill-based education and gives insufficient importance to in-demand skills.
- Obsolete learning techniques
Traditional learning methods, in a large majority of educational institutions in India, are predominantly textbook-based. They do not cater to the needs and demands of a generation that are inseparable from technology. New-age job training requires new-age learning techniques and aids.
- Minimal customization
Learning is a personalized journey. Different learners have different learning speeds, styles, and sensibilities. In traditional education, there is very limited scope for customization. Students are expected to proceed at the same speed as the rest. This could be a major hurdle for students who need more time to understand and learn.
Online Education – The Panacea
India’s path to getting skilled is hurdled by financial constraints, poor reach, absence of adaptability and flexibility. Online education, unlike traditional forms of education, is more accessible, economical, easy to implement, and customizable. This new-age training paves the way for immersive learning experiences and can easily help learners keep track of their progress.
Online education is one of the best solutions for learners looking to reskill or upskill. There are several affordable online avenues in the country that aim to empower their students with carefully curated digital learning materials, hands-on learning, and mentorship.
Here is why online education can close the skill gap in India:
- Online Education is Highly Effective
Online education utilizes multi-sensory learning aids, thus delivering better outcomes. Simulations, gamified learning, 3D classrooms, discussion forums, engaging visuals and the like are all enhancing the overall quality of learning experience. The course structures are simple, the navigation is easy, and the learners have a better focus on the subject matter.
- Online Education is Flexible
This is perhaps the most remarkable feature of online education. It fits the convenience of both young professionals and graduates; learners can choose both synchronous and asynchronous learning options.
- Online Education is Affordable
Employers can provide specific training to their workforce at a reasonable price using online platforms. Unlike academic courses that demand a hefty fee from you, you can acquire the specific skills you need at a very reasonable price using online education. Moreover, several online learning platforms give the flexibility to enroll for free and pay the tuition fee after placement. Several online courses offer content for free and charge only for certification.
- Online Education Increases the Retention of Information
With due emphasis on practical applicability, online education seems to increase the retention of information. By integrating technologies like AI, virtual reality augmented reality, and simulations, learners get to apply the methods in real-life settings.
- Online Education is Agile and Adaptive
Thanks to the digital revolution, the shelf life of technologies has reduced drastically. In the online medium, lessons and learning content are updated at a much faster pace when compared to traditional education, hence giving the online learners an added advantage.
- Online Education Offers Customized Learning Experience
Online lessons can either be accessed individually or in small learning cohorts, allowing the instructor to give due attention to every student. Not only can learners set their own pace, but they can also access the guidance of their instructors at their will from the comforts of their home.
- Online Education Fosters Global Mindset
Being job-ready in the digital age also means being able to deal with diversity. With geographical borders blurring every day, success also depends on how well a person is able to adapt to different cultures. Online education exposes you to people from different parts of the world, thus instilling a global mindset in you.
The skill gap in India cannot be eradicated in the blink of an eye. But the clever use of online education can certainly bring about changes in the status quo. Not only can online avenues work in tandem with organizations to cultivate new-age skills in the workforce, but they can also democratize the opportunities for upskilling and reskilling in India.