Editors Word: when I received this article I felt connected to the author’s feelings and frustration. After I completed my degree, I also realized that for my work I needed to be either a writer or a programmer. None of those I was thought even at a basic level. Not a real problem for me, I love my trade so much that weirdly enjoy the struggle. Then I thought about someone else with a little bit more of common sense realizing where they are after demanding four years in university. Enjoy
1.0 What is wrong?
The number of universities has been on the rise since the last couple of decades. More people are drawn towards top notch institutes to attain professional degrees, fancying they will prosper in the practical life. Experts believe that there is a direct relationship between the level of education and the financial stability of an individual. Though this can’t be generalized, this can be proved with a simple rule of thumb that a person with a better academics is more likely to advance professionally and earn a handsome salary than someone who’s not academically strong enough.
The fact that why people have clasped their ambitions with education for a better life, could have multiple reasons. Firstly there is a huge lot of high achievers who belong to the sound academic group. Then one other reason could be the increase in the disposable income of an ordinary household. People are spending more on their wards’ education than they ever were. Lastly, because of the cut throat competition, there are less working opportunities than the number of potential people who could be placed. A good education is also treated as a USP or as a value added.
But we all have come down to the point where it is quite evident in itself that as of now, there are fewer jobs available in the market than people are being graduated every single year. Awareness for education has never been like this before in the history. Still, there are lesser opportunities for the well-educated. Who has to be blamed for this? Well, perhaps the whole system is coming to a dead end. We need to get in a revised plan to get this sorted out, otherwise, in a decade or so Academic institutes shall begin to shut down and others have to prepare a strategy to deal with repercussions.
2.0 Pull heads out of the Sand?
There’s hardly any talk on the topic, but this doesn’t mean there is no flaw. Academics have come to a stage where it has become rather static. Universities, which includes even the Ivy League ones, have been teaching nearly the same courses, syllabus and material over the years. Times have changed, drastically. If we go on and count the number of items that became obsolete between 2000-2017, that would be enormous. Start counting with your Sony Walkman. There has been so much progress in science that it has changed everything faster than anybody could have ever imagined. Everything has gone online from businesses to public services to every other thing that is present in our lives. The Internet has changed the world. My point is, have we brought enough change in our lifestyles including academics to cope up with the pace?
2.1 Are we getting our value for money?
If you take on, on an average university’s course outline, you will see they have been offering the same courses since the last 8 years, with possible minuscule change. Change requires time, urgency, resources. But since everybody is busy collecting dollar bills nobody is concerned with thinking about a better future for ourselves. One prime reason for unemployment is the massive gap there is between academics and the practical world. Institutes get so much stuffed in feeding their students with tip top theories and concepts that they nearly forget what the outside world needs their students for? What do they demand? Institutes should be well aware of what is happening in the market and prepare students for them.
3.0 Is there a Hope
With sound policies and a far-sighted plan, things can improve. The first step has to be the realization of the fact that universities should be nurseries for the leaders of tomorrow not only in literal meaning but its true meaning. They should be the actual places to prepare people for what is out there in the market. Institutes can take steps towards the following plans:
3.1 Ensure strong ties with the industry:
The real dichotomy lies in the fact that most all the main universities claim this, but if they had worked on it, they would have known what the market is demanding and prepare students accordingly. Rather than teaching them old concepts and theories just to feed up the credit hours, seminars could be organized calling all the key companies to come up and talk about the issues and things they are doing. What are they seeking in people they want to hire? Most such programs do happen at some universities, but students are so head down busy with their studies that they barely find any free time.
3.2 Design a dynamic Course outline for offered Programs:
It’s the right time that the course outlines for all programs should be treated as some holy scriptures and shall be changed every 4-5 years. Courses relevant in the market for a particular program shall be taught and should receive more focus. Business students shall be taught IT courses and vice versa. Once a student graduates and begin working in the industry, there are always these couple of classes he has no idea what did he study for, because they had zero applications in practical life. So what purpose does feeding students with such courses fulfill? Some Ivy League universities are already following this model of changing their course outline after a certain number of years and only time will tell their students will be doing good enough in the market.
3.3 Realistic Student Counselling:
In the third world countries especially, there are a limited number of programs being offered at universities, so most students go for general programs like Engineering, Medical or Business. Some students may suffer in such a system. All universities shall have an on-campus student counselor that may guide a student beforehand what discipline he should go for based upon his skill set.
3.4 Show what’s out there on the market:
It has also been present that lately there has been way too much focus on entrepreneurship. The buzzwords like ‘Be your own boss’ have become the talk of the town. Universities have been promoting this culture. But is this a cup of tea anybody realistically can enjoy? Is it practical for everyone to become an entrepreneur? Some people might be more successful in a 9-5 corporate job than running their own business and vice versa. Institutes must show the actual bigger picture and let the students know that the market has a place for every one of you, just do what you’re good at.
4.0 Final word:
There is no bashing to the universities in this. But it’s just pointing out what they have been doing wrong and could be rectified with a simple planning. Some major educational institutes have realized the fact that the market pace has been too fast and they are improvising in a good style which is a big step forward. It’s not too late before all educational institutes realize this and follow their trail so that they can actually prepare the students for what is offered out there in the industry.