Indian undergraduate colleges have received continuous flak for their syllabi that do not match industry needs. Even though a lot of colleges in India are concentrating on comprehensive insight into a field with very specific specialisation, this hasn’t served the purpose.Education should open up various opportunities and foster a constructive, creative, and methodological understanding of the subject.
Subir Ghosh, the Principal of Bhavan’s Asutosh College of Communication and Management, Kolkata, throws light on the inadequacies of the general courses and the steps that should be implemented by universities to make the courses job-oriented.
Q. Do students in universities with general courses get jobs?
A. There is no dearth of jobs if you have knowledge and skill. The problem for the students is to equip themselves and to fit into the demands of the industry. One has to be employable. A lot of private companies are now coming up for campus recruitment in many universities. This year, ETV conducted a campus interview in Bhavan’s Asutosh College of Communication and Management. In fact, right now, a Hyderabad -based TV channel has approached our college. This year, at least eight to nine organisations in the private sector came for recruitment.
Q. How do you think courses can be made more job-oriented?
A. First of all, the colleges should interact regularly with business chambers. The market is equally interested to get proficient people. They are actually disappointed that they don’t get skilled people. Colleges must establish links with these bodies. There should be regular industry-academia interface. It will require a change in syllabus and outlook.
Q. Since there is demand for skilled people, industrialists feel that there is shortage in talent. How do you think the students should be prepared to make them job ready?
A. Students in Bengal know their subjects well. But they cut a miserable figure when it comes to communication. They often fail to express their knowledge. It is important to keep a tap on the job market. They have to know what kind of job the employers are looking for and be equipped to fit themselves to the emerging trends in the industry. This will also require a change in the writing style and communication. Works of Shakespeare, William Wordsworth, and Alexander Pope are classics. But if you speak in their language in the professional world, it will not help. It can only fetch marks for your exams. Your communication should be simple. It is important to ensure that your communication gives no scope for misunderstanding. Keep it simple and short. That is the demand of the industry. Academia and industry live in two different worlds. Our boys and girls are seldom exposed to the norms of the industry. If I am supposed to reach office at 10, I will try to reach by 9.50. But the lackadaisical manner in which most of the colleges run does not make the students ready for the industry. They have to be business-like. They should adapt themselves to the culture of the industry, which values discipline, punctuality, and hard-work.
Q. How can universities and colleges attract recruiters?
A. First, they should put up a placement cell with the right kind of people who would go out and liaise with the business chambers. This does not mean any compromise on the academic standards. But one needs to develop academically in harmony with the needs of the industry.
Q. How can the general and professional courses be balanced to make it job-oriented?
A. Yes, of course, and it is time this is done. For the last 15 years or so, the university has made environment studies compulsory. Similarly, why can’t they run special classes that will give our students some kind of financial literacy? You may be a student of English or History but why you should not know what balance of payment is? You are a student of philosophy but if you don’t know what a public sector is, then you are in trouble.
There is a lot that depends on the professors. They must set the standards. Colleges must be run professionally. The greatest problem in West Bengal is to make people work during the work hours.