To say that we need a more integrated, harmonious approach that resonates with the needs of the hour goes without saying. We all know India as a young country and we hear a lot about the demographic dividend waiting to be made the most of. This can be seen in the vast milieu of India’s education system, which currently has 277 million students enrolled across 1.4 million schools. India’s e-Learning market is set to grow to USD 40 billion.
However, the demographic dividend is a double-edged sword, representing an opportunity and a challenge. In order to ensure that our demographic dividend is not an albatross under our neck, we need to couple education with skill development, for it is the only way to prepare tomorrow’s generation of Indians for employment in a world that is ever more demanding.
Today, we are witnessing a mismatch across our country; the education possessed by our youth does not match that of the industry or service sector. Thus, it is a little surprising to see that 30% of our youth in the age group of 15-29 years are not in school, training or employed. Concomitantly, it is sobering to see that India is ranked 129th out of 180 nations on the Human Development Index.
India has a responsibility to arm its citizens with the tools they need to make their mark on the global stage. With the education sector growing by at least 16%, and higher education taking up almost 50% of all the business, this is a field ripe for innovations and new business opportunities. Economic growth and employment in India will continue to shift toward the manufacturing and services sectors, so there is a need for more practical and hands-on education geared towards this at all levels.
One way in which we can address employability challenges is ensuring a more robust academia-industry interface, which will provide richer exposure to students right and enable the development of thinkers, complex problem solvers, and decision-makers that are ready for the challenges of the modern-day industry. Moreover, it will prepare them for a broad range of jobs across sectors, endowing them with skill-sets that are applicable across rapidly evolving industries.
We are witnessing an era in which education is evolving in response to societal and economic changes, an evolution that is given further momentum evolutions in the education system as we know it. The changing skill requirements from the industries spread across the world demands a competency-based learning model than a fixed learning structure. The Indian education system thus needs to recalibrate its strategies across all the levers of education to remain relevant in the age of the global economy.