Although the New Education Policy and educationists even before that have underlined the importance of increasing the ‘employability’ of students, not much work has been done, as yet, on that. In a country where the majority of people are obsessed with getting a government job, too many youngsters obtain almost pointless B.A. and M.A. degrees in subjects like Political Science, History, Literature, et al. One can get ‘educated’ by studying these subjects but – if one leaves out teaching as a career – these degrees are good only for appearing in civil services type exams, where the candidates are aplenty, the competition is tough and the jobs too few. Here, too, the inclusion of technical subjects has meant that a large percentage of those who qualify are doctors and engineers.
So, admission to such courses should be designed to ensure that youngsters do not apply just to become graduates but have actual interest in the subjects. The traditional colleges that provide much of such education must introduce courses that provide marketable skills. This trend is visible in the newly established universities, but the older ones have not been able to get out of the traditional rut.
Also, a culture should be developed in schools among students that weans them away from the ‘sarkari job’ mindset. Instead of following the latest fad – if it was the IAS, earlier, it is coding and suchlike today – they should be schooled in the opportunities available in a plethora of fields. They need to learn how much more fulfilling it can be to have one’s own start-up based on one’s interests and passion, instead of following the herd. Most importantly, the large section of children from economically challenged and lower middle class families must learn the dignity of labour – the value of any kind of work honestly done. They must be mentored on charting a path from small beginnings to actualising their dreams.
There is always the example of an inspiring teacher that taught students necessary life skills, but there are not enough of them. The teacher for the new circumstances has to be trained in furthering the goal of imparting ‘employability’ and actual worth to students. It is unfortunate that there still are politicians and even thinkers who promote the old model of government jobs rather than the entrepreneurial spirit at every level. There should also be ‘bridge courses’ for young jobless people to reorient themselves to use whatever skills they actually have, to make an honest buck, instead of hankering after the illusion that most politicians dangle before them.