In my professional journey, I have interacted with thousands of students who are from different streams of education. My interactions were in the context of training, employment, career development and counseling. My dialogue with them would always start with the question “Can you explain a 5 minute brief about your 4/3 years study?”. All I wanted to know from them was what subjects they had studied, what was the favorite subject, and a few lines on the project work undertaken by them. The answer from a considerable percentage of students had always been either a blank face or an incoherent talk. A four year graduation has around 4,800 home preparatory hours at 4 hours a day for 300 days. This is besides the time they spend in college and mandatory holidays. Such a precious time is going unaccounted for. The students were unable to express not because of any momentary psychological pressure or so. It was because they practically never paid sincere attention to their academics. All a perfunctory routine. Attending to college, chit-chat at common adda, movies, and more.
The result is that most of the students (a) end-up being irrelevant to job market, (b) go for supplementary skill development for employment, (c) pursue higher studies (again with same approach. I saw several students who qualified M.S. with similar predicament as indicated above. Recall Tri-Valley University saga), (d) take up insignificant or irrelevant jobs (e) undertake errands depending on the need (f) increase gap after last academic which will make them ineligible in the job market or (g) remain unemployed.
The various reasons for this alarming trend is:
- Insincere efforts by college with respect to quality pedagogy, lab infrastructure, periodical evaluation, project work, and disciplined academic flow.
- Education is taken up as a commercial venture with least responsibility towards mandatory deliverables.
- Total lack of regulatory strictures.
- Lack of involvement and interactions from parents about the child’s growth.
- Employment opportunities that hardly relate with pursued educational stream.
- Total absence of understanding in the students about the (a) value of academic time, (b) foundational significance of studies for bright future, (c) individual responsibility (d) future risk to the career development owing to poor performance, and more.
- The static nature of academic system w.r.t. its (i) syllabus, (ii) approach, (iii) evaluation system, (iv) faculty development, and (v) infrastructure development.
- Total absence of research or research based approach.
- Nonchalant approach towards technology trends, market requirement, need to integrate with or collaborate with industry and research institutions.
- Mushroomed growth of academic institutions with pure commercial motive.
Some of the required measures to nurture younger generation as true resources for development of resourceful Society and Nation.
- Total and periodical review and redeployment of academic syllabus in line with the (a) socio-economic requirement (b) technological trends (c) market requirement (d) resource requirement (e) need for research and innovation (f) gap in leadership (g) global relevance.
- An exclusive University for Faculty Development to meet the above.
- Increased budget allocations for academic development
- Infusion of scientific, innovative and leadership temperament in the students through constant means like (i) workshops, (ii) seminars, (iii) talent shows, (iv) knowledge confluence, (v) science expos, (vi) industry interaction, (vii) participation in the socio-economic and community programs, (viii) political pulse, (ix) entrepreneurship development programs, (x) development of individual and professional ethics and values.
- Stringent performance evaluation across academic institutions.
- To do away with the reservation system in academics (the reservation system is contributing in the further weakening of recipient socio-economic sections where they are forced to perform less. I advocate against any incentives, reservations in the individual development, be it academics or other areas). Fee reimbursement system or Free education is the best option in place of reservation system.
- Funding to academic institutions for infrastructure development and perennial support in faculty development through the instituted university for the purpose.
Unless we strengthen the younger generation through academic excellence, knowledge proliferation and leadership development, we are going to further weaken our society and generation in all aspects. We need Scientists, Innovators, Mathematicians, Leaders and Social developers. Not just the graduates.