India’s talent pool is diverse and dense. Nonetheless, it still has room for improvement when it comes to the professional and technical skills for industries today. As the business landscape becomes multifaceted, new skill requirements arise. How is the Indian education sector ensuring to imbibe these necessary skills among fresh professionals? Prashant Khare, Founder and CEO of CareerThon shares his views. Edited excerpts:
How do you see the talent pool for emerging technical professionals growing? What have been the ups and downs in the last three years?
I see the growth of the talent pool for technical professions as a positive growth and a win-win situation for both recruiters and persons being recruited. It has become a fast-growing trend in almost all the different industries. With the rapidly growing economy and the multifaceted technical field of work, we require our recruitments to be skilled in their respective technical fields which may be time consuming and tiresome.
Talking about the ups and downs in this, the first thing that comes to my mind is that it is essential for hiring diverse talent, with good technical skills at a faster pace. Looking at the era of artificial intelligence, the most important thing that the robots won’t have is knowledge or information but skills, that cannot be coded into a machine. Further talent pooling encourages diversity and increases inclusion of people from different categories to present themselves if they satisfy the skill rubrics required for the profession or promotion in a profession. The major loophole about talent pool can be summarized basically into three heads, namely the secrecy maintained about the composition of talent pool, incorrect skill sets designed by the HR department to analyse the skills and difficulty in forming talent pools for certain professions.
Would you say there is a critical skill gap in the technology talent pool in India today? If yes, what are the possible causes for this gap?
Would agree to this that in India there is a wide skill gap in the technology talent pool. The main cause of this should be drawn back to the educational system in India as the grass root cause. Candidates are not trained with sufficient practical exposure in their respective fields. The condition becomes more disappointing in the field of applied sciences. Furthermore, we are comfortable in continuing to use old technology rather than looking further at the new and updated ones just because we have a stereotyped thought about new things.
Which Indian industries experience these gaps most glaringly?
The educational industry experiences the gap most prominently. It was realized after the education was turned into online mode during the Covid-19 pandemic. The main cause is that the technological use was not fully utilised and put into practice. While international universities had introduced smart classes long back when everything was normal. Government have taken many steps for introducing information and communication technology into education system, but the execution of these initiatives is in a questionable state.
How can today’s EdTech drive closure of these skill gaps and prepare fresh professionals for the industry early on?
EdTech can help in reducing the gap in many ways as it is more engaging, inclusive and individualised. EdTech helps us create, manage and use a synergy of technology processes and educational resources. EdTech motivates us to work in our area of expertise so that we can brush on our skills and stand out in respective professional fields.
Has Indian academia adequately buffed up with EdTech? What rearrangements can academia do to prepare students as per industry needs?
There is no denial of the fact that the Indian academia have been backed and strengthened by EdTech but the journey is long and we are still half way only. In India higher education is similar to the caste system, highly influenced by wealth, power, prestige and utility. All these continue to influence public discourse.
To bring in the desired change both industry and academia should collaborate to understand each other’s strength and build in trust. More focus should be given to the research aspect to have a strong stand in global competition. Further, more awareness should be spread about the positive collaboration of industry and academia. The success stories will be motivational for others also.
Is it only the technical skills that need ramping up, or even soft skills and business acumen too? Can EdTech really play a meaningful role there, if that’s the case?
No, technical skills are useful for all spheres, be it soft skills or business acumen. The nature of EdTech makes it helpful for sharpening these skills also.
The Covid-19 pandemic has further pushed things to digital. Now, as EdTech has become an active academic norm, ironically teachers who were accustomed to traditional classroom teaching had to go digital almost overnight and learn new tech skills. How did EdTech platforms ensure this transition went painlessly?
EdTech has definitely come like a boon to education industry. Different smart technical features like Google Meet, various interactive platforms, and substitutes for classroom setups have been helpful for teachers with little or no knowledge of online teaching. It has been rightly stated that necessity is the mother of all invention. During the pandemic, these advanced uses of technology have become useful for both teachers as well as students. Now, the process has become more learner centric which increases the interests of learners. Education has been made available now on your finger tip.
What’s the way forward for EdTech in the quest of academia-industry collaboration and cooperation?
We look forward for further growth of EdTech so that it can provide with more concreate, specialised and tailor-made programmes for promoting research aptitude. Research will ensure a future not restricted to thoughts provided to them (learners) by meagre reading of texts.