Sundar Pichai recently added to the list of elite India born CEOs heading international organisations influencing everyone’s life. After Sanjay Jha, Rajiv Suri and Satya Nadela he is an Indian whose education fundamentals are rooted to India. Well these are the CEOs of celebrity organisations within IT only. Then we have people like Indira Nooyi and Vikram Pandit (who had to resign) who also brought laurels to the country.
Needless to remind of countless exceptionally great performing professionals who have played and are in critical roles in various global organisations and are contributing to their phenomenal growth.
This is one side of the story. Most of these had their basic education, some even did their engineering graduation from India and then moved to other parts of the globe and made all in the country proud.
The other side are the stories and real experiences of HR and talent acquisition managers in India. No one portrays a very good picture and for them acquisition of talent is always an issue. Many of them even have serious concerns about the employability of professionals. Back in 2014, Aspiring Minds had conducted a survey that put the rate of employable engineers at just 18%. Similarly Team Lease said in a study that over 50% of the passing out students are unemployable. Same is echoed by the practising middle level managers, who find it very difficult to get the desired talent and skills.
So, while the first half implies we have the best of fundamental education system in place, the second half of the picture gives hopelessness.
The issue with our present education system is that we have very high levels of abstraction in our pedagogy essentially at the higher levels. This affects the comprehension of concepts and leads to the lack of application of knowledge acquired. This is where our system of education fundamentally differs than of other countries like US, and once we get a chance to higher education in such countries, our horizon of application of knowledge broadens which results in successful professionals and business leaders.
With the present system we are only creating either people capable of leading some of the best creative global organisations like Microsoft and Google or we have people who are not even considered for jobs by various emerging organisations within the country. The system is simply resulting in the best and the worst.
I am not an educationist and hence have no expertise to suggest reformative measures. However, I feel we have to do reverse education. First, we need to show our children at different levels of education, different systems and concepts, based on their complexity and they could go back to their classrooms to understand the knowledge behind it. This is how by reversing the process we could link the knowledge with the actual implementation. Even this would work for observing nature. We start showing trees and plants in books to kids. Rather we should first show them a tree in the garden and then get to classroom to make then understand the knowledge of a tree or plant.
This becomes very significant as we up skill ourselves from a service oriented economy to manufacturing based economy. For manufacturing, our fundamentals about application of knowledge have to be strong and it could possibly happen through reverse education. This system would help in the way that we would be having a clear idea about the end product and then reverse learn from there, rather than building up different blocks of a system, where we might either miss up a piece or even get confused with the application.
We cannot make everybody a leader out of our education system and there will be different levels of people available having different capabilities even with similar education background. But, we have to surely implement measures to stop creating these extremely opposite set of people. While we continue to create leaders we must definitely work on increasing employability as well.