Dr. Balvinder Shukla, Vice Chancellor, Amity University, Uttar Pradesh, spoke to BE’s Varsha Singh about how universities can make students job-ready and skilled.
Q. The UGC implemented a scheme called the “Introduction of Career Oriented Courses (COCs)” in universities and colleges. Has this scheme been implemented by your university? If so, how has it helped? If not, are you doing any campus recruitment for general students?
A. The Introduction of Career Oriented Courses (COCs) being implemented by the UGC in the universities and colleges in the country is to encourage integration of skill oriented and value added add-on-courses at Certificate/Diploma/ Advance Diploma level wherein the courses being offered shall be of inter-disciplinary nature. The universities recognised by the UGC under Section 12 (B) of UGC Act, 1956, are eligible for implementing the scheme. However, Amity University has taken multiple initiatives in introducing Choice Based Credit Courses for the students. We have also launched over 20 skill development courses in engineering and management domain, leading to Certificate and Diploma and are in the process of launching B.Voc Programmes under its skill development initiatives.
Such initiatives have helped the students to hone their skills as well as helped them to attain professional as well as holistic education, which in turn, makes them more confident during campus recruitments and placements. As far as recruitments are concerned, we are doing campus placements for students across domains, be it management, the humanities or engineering.
Q. Do you think the difference between general and professional streams should be erased by making all profession-ready courses?
A. We have to understand that general and professional degrees have their individual dynamism and require a different
approach. The general and professional students have their own outlook as well as their own approach towards their respective subject areas. Moreover, professional degrees are governed by respective statutory bodies like BCI, MCI, NCI, COA, PCI and such other bodies of the Government of India, which are distinctly different from the general field of study like humanities, science, commerce and even management. Professional short courses can be offered as add-on values by any degree granting institutions or professional societies, under skill development or continuing and lifelong education.
Q. How is the job scenario for students from the general courses?
A. Now, with a significant number of job opportunities coming up, the recruiters are hiring students even from the general courses. Students of all disciplines; whether science, humanities or arts do get jobs, depending on their level of education, competency, knowledge, expression, presentation, approach, and personality at the post-graduation level. However, industry is more inclined towards recruiting students with professional degrees as compared to the general courses. Thus, the career-oriented certification courses gain importance and relevance. Skills are common across all jobs and that is what Amity focuses upon. By giving the right life skills across all courses, we make all our students industry ready.
Q. How is the recruitment scenario at Amity and how are courses made more job-oriented?
A. The curricula development plays an important role in making the courses relevant with times. The course structure should be more application-based, less theoretical, and based on current trends and evolving technology.
We, at Amity, revisit the syllabus at regular intervals, to deliberate upon the emerging areas of study. The students are provided opportunities of experiential learning by exposing them to real problems and issues, through internship and/or in house simulation facilities. Short courses as add-on credits are also helpful for students to explore other avenues in allied areas of field of study.
Regular sessions are also organised on the theme ‘Industry Expectation Session by Experts from young professionals’. The sessions start right from orientation programme in the first year and are also organised during the academic programme till the campus recruitment drive starts for the students. A number of workshops are conducted for student for writing resume and articulating their career objectives, highlighting the achievements, experiences in addition to their academic credentials.
The campus placements are organised for all the students through dedicated departments/faculty at Institution level and domain level through Corporate Resource Centre (CRC) / Industry Interaction Cell (IIC) / Placement Cell (PC) and Amity Technical Placement Cell (ATPC) respectively. 100% placement is ensured for students who are interested and eligible. As a result, 80% students were placed in leading companies, 18% pursued higher education in leading universities in India and abroad and remaining 2% either joined family business or started their own ventures in 2015-16.
Q. Do you think there is a gap in the demand of industry and academia in India? If so, what can be done to bridge the gap?
A. The gap between the industry and academia in India is a huge one. It is therefore imperative for us to arrange such
forums in which people from the corporate meet those from the academia. The industry needs to play a proactive role in building skill force in our country as Government has come out with multiple policies in this direction, such as skill development policy, amendment in the Companies Act introducing CSR scheme, amendment in Apprenticeship Act, etc. for industry to join hands in the skill mission of Government.
Q. How different is job recruitment of arts and communication and management courses in comparison to
technology and engineering studies?
A. In the modern age of education, where multi-disciplinary areas of study, are gaining currency with even dual degree in certain cases, the students are enlightened and smart enough to build their profile with job-oriented add-on courses. While job opportunities are sinking in the engineering field, the opportunities are opening up in areas like humanities, social science, communication, and management. With the exponential growth of education as an investment sector under private
initiatives, jobs in education have witnessed impressive growth. Overall, the services sectors, which dominate employment generation, employ students of all background especially the management domain.