Need of Hour :: Drastic changes in Indian Education System

I start my writing with a quote from Ishopanishada

हिरण्यमयेन पात्रेण सत्यस्यापिहितं मुखम्। तत्त्वं पुषन्नपावृणु सत्य धर्माय दृष्टये॥

The face of truth is covered with golden disc. Open it! So that I who love the truth may see it.

I would like to quote the purpose of writing this piece of information, since the purpose is more important than the person. And ultimately that’s what I have been learning from the ideals like Sri Adi Shankaracharya, Vishnugupta Chanakya, Swami Vivekanand and Mahatma Gandhi. I shall try to bring your focus on following aspects of India and its future as I see…

Major objective of my writing is to bring focus on following things

  • Challenges of human resources of India – current and future
  • Potential of India to face global challenges
  • Indian Human Resource Limitations to overcome the global confront and challenges
  • Urgency and requirement of shift of focus by young human resource of India
  • Unseen and not so spoken harmful aspects of current young mindset of country
  • Immediate action India can take to become hub of skillfully progressive and competitive Human resources

I shall quote the sentences of Chanakya Vishnugupta before I proceed ahead

हे तेजोमय सुर्य देवता अर्ध्य समर्पित करते समय ये याचना करता हु, इस जम्बूद्वीपमे इस जम्बूद्वीप के समाज में तुम्हारा प्रकाश फ़ैले, ये समाज महानता को पाये यही मेरी प्रार्थना है। मुझे आशीर्वाद दो।

हम जिस साधारणजन के महानता कि बाते करते है, और जो समाज साधारण मानसिकता लेकर जिता है और विश्वास लेकर जिते है उससे असाधारण और महान संस्कृती का निर्माण हो सकता है? जिसकी हम प्रशंसा करते है वो आहार, निद्रा, भय और मैथुन में डूबा है। अपने परिवार के बाहर उसका कोई संसार नही होता, और अपने समाज को जरा भी नही समझता है वो। हे सूर्यदेव आवश्यकता ही एक प्रणाली कि एक पद्धती कि, लोहेमें ढले आयामो कि, ऐसे आयाम जो लोहे के कवच पहने हो, इसीलिये ये प्रयास। मुझे आशीर्वाद दो तेजोमय सुर्य देवता|

How true he was then and how true the above quotes now for our lovely motherland’s people. Writing this information is not just to inform and make you aware the collection of my experiences and knowledge I have gained so far on the various subjects of Human Resource Management, Anthropology and social approaches but discussing the current situation and its consequences.

Our country is passing through transition, the transition which will take her to the heights of success, a powerful nation, a society which will respect the diversity and compliment the whole world. If we do not take care of the human resources of our country, this dream is not possible. If the human resources of the whole nation won’t come together to build the society we would just be called as a country living in its past glory and cannot make any difference to the welcoming future. Building the nation is one of the most important responsibilities of our youth, men, women and seniors. Have we lost it? Are we really looking forward to see our nation as “Light of Asia” or “Light of World” once again?

We would have many wishes but wishes cannot be brought into reality if we do not have right mindset of Human resources and its people. We are relatively a young country but with such glorious history and tradition. I feel proud as a dancer and performer when I present and talk about the traditionally rich and structured art forms we have originated. When I look at any art or science form coming from our own land may it be Dance, Music, Sculpture, Yoga, Architecture, mathematics or astronomy I feel really proud about the fact of methodical progression and mature stage of these original forms. Each minute thing is carefully taken care of while building and documenting these forms.

If in comparison post freedom our efforts of initiating, crafting, developing and progressing science and art is near to negligible or nil. One of the most primary reasons is our getting away from the fundamental belief of “better education is the key towards progression”. When I am talking about education I am definitely not talking about the factories we build under the name of education to produce clerks and clerical mindset resources. Extraordinary set ups of education is far most fundamental for building better skillful and far thinking society. We are blessed with the history of being best in the areas developed and nurtured for so many centuries. Post freedom our efforts of building such educational hubs have come to stand still. We have started copying the western style of educational system and we are failing miserably. We have somehow started taking western universities as bench mark, which is not bad but on other hand a question arises have we been successful to build and produce a talent usable for country and country’s progress? Few of the Institutions are now among the top educational hubs in India like IITs and IIMs. At IIT-B, the placement exercise is an extensive, year-long process, conducted for all students in their final year of engineering. Over 270 organisations visited the IIT-B campus between October 2012 and June 2013. However, of the 1,421 students who registered for the placement programme, only 1,099 (77%) got jobs. This figure is inclusive of students who opted out of the programme to pursue higher studies (Ref: Monday, 9 September 2013 -Agency: DNA Kanchan Srivastava). This indicates a well known institution facing problem of placing 23% students. I wonder what would be the status of other non premium higher education colleges and institution placement numbers.

I have been associated with educational institutes and universities. It is very much visible how the educational institutes are built and sustained. The very basic institution teaching the patriotism, non – corruptive approaches, equality and education are far away from its basic teachings.

I have seen and understood thru campus recruitment drives people not hesitate and expressing their willingness of taking overseas job or study outside India and then settling overseas. Most of these are the top cream of the talent which is been produced by India. Talent brain drain is one of the hazardous curse for India. Following is a sample of this figure.

Let’s take one more example

Indian students are rapidly escaping India. In the past decade alone, there has been a 256 per cent increase in the number of students studying abroad. The number now stands at 2,00,000 annually, and the students are going everywhere – Spain, Britain, Australia, USA, and even China.

Brain Drain

(Ref: The ‘brain drain’: How India’s education system is failing its economy, Raghu Kumar Updated On: November 23, 2013)


On the other hand when we compare east and west educational system and success rate of the successful talented employees is different…

Speaking from personal experience of Raghu Kumar, having done his schooling exclusively in the West, the easiest way to differentiate the two systems of education is a skills acquiring approach (West) versus a knowledge acquiring approach (India).

The key element here is that the education system in the West fosters “out of the box thinking”. For example, it strongly encourages entrepreneurship. Meanwhile, India has established IIT’s, IIM’s, law schools and other institutions of excellence; students here now routinely score 90 per cent marks. This makes it difficult for student even with 90+ percentages to get into the colleges of their choice. But the question here is — what has really changed in the educational system?

That being said, India’s educational system has its advantages. It promotes mathematics and sciences, and it is not a coincidence that so many jobs are outsourced to India due to India’s education system. Recently, the CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt announced that India’s entrepreneurs have the “ability” to build the next Google if India “plays its cards right”.

What is the reason of such brain drain? What is making talent not staying in India? Is the only talent built in engineering and business “the talent”?

Or we have other set of question of employability for the talent, which is created in our land.

Insufficient supply of quality skills is one of the main impediments to further economic growth in India. The Indian economy grew more than 8% on average over the past few years and the declined too, including the year of the unprecedented financial crisis in 2009. However, the skill shortage is still one of the major constraints in most industries in India (World Bank, 2009b). IT, infrastructure and power sectors where engineers play a critical role are particularly in difficult situations when it comes to unmet demand for skills. For instance, the exporting IT sector reported lack of skills as the most serious obstacle for growth, and salaries rose 15% annually from 2003 to 2006 mainly due to the shortages of qualified workforce (World Bank, 2009).

We have more than 700 Institutes providing higher education in India, over 35,500 colleges. Every year 2 Crore, students enroll in these colleges around 37% take Arts, 19% Science, 18% commerce and 16% engineering faculty.

Type of Institution Number E.g.
Central Universities (Public) 44 University of Delhi
State Universities (Public) 306 University of Mumbai
State Universities (Private) 154 Amity University
Deemed Universities (Private or Public) 129 Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Institution of National Importance (Public) 67 Indian Institute of Technology
Total Degree-granting Institutions 700
Affiliated Colleges (Public or Private) 35,539

Although the country has enough potential to deliver to the needs of the, global talent market, the strong employability challenge of the graduates; especially, engineering graduates became the bottleneck for India’s growth perceptive (Talent shortage survey, 2005) (Global talent risk-seven responses, 2011). Even in India, which produces 4,00,000 engineers annually, corporations are finding it increasingly difficult to find the qualified workers they require. (Replacement migration, 2009). India’s National Association of Software Services Companies estimates a potential shortfall of 5,00,000 technology professionals by 2010 (Talent shortage survey, 2005).There were several studies conducted in India to know the employability skills of the students. It is found that 75% of the Indian graduates are unemployable. (Talent shortage survey, 2005). Also the recent study conducted by World Bank (2011) points out that 64% of the employers say they are only somewhat satisfied with the performance of the engineering graduates in India (Andreas Blom, 2011). Globally about 34% of the employers (Talent shortage survey, 2005) find it difficult to fill the talent gap and in India 67% of the employers find it difficult to find right talent (from both arts and science graduates).These results points out the need for proper awareness and training among the graduates to enhance their skills.

7.32 % of the labour force, in the year 1999-2000, was unemployed. In absolute terms the number of unemployed stood at 26.58 million. Since the above estimates are on Current Daily Status basis, the number of unemployed also includes the number of those who are underemployed in terms of underutilization of the labour time. But it excludes such underemployed who are working at very low levels of income and productivity. Among the employed, the proportion of poor is as high as in the population at large, suggesting a large proportion of workers engaged in subsistence employment. Only about 8 % of the total employment is in organized sector. More than 90 % are engaged in informal sector activities, which are, largely outside the reach of any social security benefits and also suffers from many handicaps in form of limited access to institutional facilities and other support facilities. The educational and skill profile of the existing workforce is very poor.

Current youth and the educated people are facing with following challenges

  • The talented and skillful students are looking for below options as per the preferred options
    1. Get into foreign universities and gain higher education
    2. Get into premium universities and gain education
    3. Get into possibly available college and university for education
  • The talent generated by the foreign universities looks for largely with an option of seeking job in foreign country and not to return back to India

3)       The talent generated by premium and non premium universities look for job outside the country to gain better economical returns

In my experience of Human Resources specifically in recruitment I have been seeing that there are groups of employees, which I can classify as…

Skill Type Possession of Skills Employability Available opportunities in India Result
Niche Skills Possessing Employable Very Low Highly demanded  manpower by all marketsLoss of talent from the country
Not Employable Very Low Brain DrainLoss of talent from the country
Potential Employable Very Low Do not have opportunities to hone their skills. Corporation sees its time consuming to spend time on their skill development. Governments do not provide any opportunity to employ them based upon their potential.  High Risk of loosing talent.
Not Employable Very Low Environment not available to gauge the potential
Vanilla Skills
Possessing Employable Moderate Gets opportunity in related or unrelated area. Most of the time unrelated area.
Not Employable Moderate Not skillful.Direction less lot of people.
Potential Employable Moderate Compromises with job. Joins whichever is available employment.
Not Employable Moderate Gained unrelated skills and hence not employable

(Niche Skills are rare skills and Vanilla skills are readily available or easy available skills in talent market)

The highly venerable lot is the people who have studied or gained education in one skill and lands in doing not related skill job, and we do have a huge lot of such employees who are educated in one field and lands in unrelated area of work.

A study shows, India is one of the emerging markets in the world. India’s change from an agrarian economy to an industrialised economy is lagging due to the shortage of skilled labour (The skill development landscape in India and implementing quality skill training, August 2010).

Figures reveal that education and skill levels of our labour force are relatively low compared with other fast growing developing countries. The system is also excessively oriented towards general academic education with little or no vocational orientation. The preference for general education is driven primarily by the perception that an academic degree is necessary to obtain a government job, which is highly valued because job security is virtually complete and pay scales are typically much above market wages. The net result is that the education system has neglected the need to provide vocational skills and to generate awareness and demand among students for acquiring, marketable skills. In the long term, a strategy to impart vocational skills will facilitate increase in income of labour. A massive expansion of “relevant” training facilities is needed. As we shall see in later section, the occupational profile of workers will change at a rapid pace because the traditional avenues for work in agriculture are poised to alter substantially, as ability of this sector to absorb labour force will diminish at a fast pace. Greater emphasis on vocational training in relation to general education is required.

Recently India got a huge opportunity to show the manpower skill to India in ITES sector. Many call centre and BPOs started coming in India. Cheap and English speaking labour was the most attractive reason for many of the MNCs who started their transactional work pushing to India. No doubt it could generate a lot of employment for a shorter time. A graduate person in India once unemployed was getting certain opportunities where he could gain money in certain thousands per month. Sooner the Indian English Speaking skill became not so attractive to the MNCs and they shifted their focus to countries like Philippines and few South East Asian countries. Only Manila has taken 70% of India’s business of ITES. This skill for which India was cheering about for certain time is no more a specialized skill. Many employees have lost their job. Another issue with such employment for long term is not beneficial for a country like us; on large scale it is due to the employment shelf life of employees working in this sector. Career challenges, skill getting obsolete quicker and the life style of the employees have become reasons for many people to get into psychological challenges.

One more caution I would like to mention here, although many people are employed in organized sector…

Prominent Sector in Urban Area Proportion
Mfg – Non M/c and Equip 46
IT & ITES 22
Mafg- M/c and Equip 12
Banking and Finance Services and Insurance 10
Trade (Retail and Service) 7
Pharma 4

Source: Government of India Employment Data Portal

Majority of the labour class which is not high educated in urban area is employed in manufacturing sector (usually such employees are ITI or non graduates; current trend is Engineering diploma holders into labour class). And the high educated employees are in IT&ITES which is around 1 quarter of the entire employee strength of urban employed India. Majority of this class is now equipped with 1 or 2 skills required by the companies. We have seen in past in any organized sector once the skill becomes obsolete the employability becomes a challenge for the people. It is important to note that this employability is just 4% to 5% of the entire population of the country. Most of the employment is generated by unorganized sector. Caution: we have brain drain within this %4 to 5% of talent lot.

Pie Chart

Employment proportion in organized sector:: Source: Government of India Employment Data Portal

Majority of the employment is generated in real estate and construction area. This is one area where education is not valued so much over the labour class dominates this sector. The second sector is education and school teachers. However currently we all know that the quality of the teachers is declining day by day. Teaching is not considered as a noble job anymore. According to my observation most of the people getting into teaching field just as no other option is available for them for income generation (in my visits to interiors of India I have heard teachers saying they have been working as teacher not as passion but just as mere necessity as they were not able to find any other better job).

It is important to note that the employment sectors such as Research and Development, NGOs, Environment, arts and culture are not considered as organized sectors or their employment chances are in negligible proportion as compared to other organized sectors.

Fast and rapid growth of skills in globe and India’s incapability of generating education, employment, and mindset to compete with these changes is making India not grow within country. But it is also a truth that educated employees in India, once they go outside India can learn the skills faster and become tough competitor in foreign land.

Basics of Human resources have always been talking about the “Right” education to The “Right” people for the Right” job. Personally I feel that so many years we have been copy an pasting the British and western style of education system in India which is not “Right” for “Right” Indian population. We concentrate on generic aspects of life and cannot make specialized and competitive manpower. I personally feel that the education system in India generates various levels of clerks and it does not provide any avenue to have entrepreneurial mindset. I have personally observed in my HR experience people only have dream to work in companies hardly anyone wants to start up their own operation.

During my travel I have interacted with many students in USA, South East Asia and Europe. One quality I have observed in children of the developed countries is that their ability to think beyond job. Many of them would like to start up their own business and wants to give employment to others. Most of them are proud of being nationals of their own respective countries and they visualize bringing better, creative business and life style for themselves and their countrymen. Not to forget the care that they have spoken about the environment and earth while progress on the other hand.

As a summary we can highlight following challenges that we are facing in employment and education system

  • Concentration of current education system to cater generic education and not skill based education
  • Lack of relevant vocational training
  • Highly skilled employees look for better options outside India
  • Uprising of the whole education system is need of time
  • Embrace the sunrise Industrial skills faster and create talent pool
  • Gaining job related skills are left to the people and system do not provide any opportunities for it

7)       Relevant jobs are not available for educated mass (in current system)

There are many ways we can bring our Human Resources as most competitive and generating employment within homeland. The first and foremost important change we need to bring is revamping the education system in India. I have been reading literature of our own land, such as Vedas. I get amazed with the organik2zed education system we had once upon a time. Global Universities like Takshshila and Nalanda were part of Indian land. The way Uapnishada describes education system I haven’t read such beautiful organized teaching methodologies elsewhere. We can amalgamate best of oriental system and best of western skill based teaching methodology and make the education system more attractive to learn and practice in day to day life.

Just to give you an example about simple discipline of our population. In school we have a neglected subject called “Civics”, many of the students/ people and teachers do not pay attention as it does not make you gain marks. Which itself is harmful, if the base itself is so weak that we won’t be able to cater anything that will make us progressive society. This is aptly identified and proclaimed by Aacharya Chanakya, Gandhiji and Swami Vivekanand in their own time. Modiji, I feel this is the right time to tune up our society’s mindset and make it a talent hub of the whole world. This will be the right time to provide opportunities to transform our country as hub of opportunities and talent both.

With this information I sincerely think that we all should look into the above issue at the faster level. I feel that even though we have so much of potential to cater to the requirement of whole globe’s requirement, but we lack in the areas of conviction and basic educational system we have adopted currently. Until we won’t inculcate a feeling of important of advancement and the competitive spirit in all sectors thru basic educational system it is next to impossible to generate and retain the globally competitive talent in country (pardon me for the word competition; here the competition is not taken as negative word. Competition here is to keep in mind as progression). Such feeling is not only be needed to be brought in traditional sectors like manufacturing, IT but also in ignored sectors including Agriculture, Construction, Infrastructure, Tourism, Education, Health Care, Energy etc.

Unless we won’t be able to work on a constructive mode for long term sustainability it would be difficult for us to bring changes in future and it’s just next to impossible to become a talent hub and a progressive society in the globe. The Human Resource problem has to be resolved in a holistic manner. We just cannot work on advancing one sector and depriving other. Skill inventory and skill development would be one of the most important aspects in coming future for India.

अंतमे माँ भारती से यही प्रार्थना करूँगा के मुझे और मेरे भ्रत्रुजनों को प्रेरणा दे के हम उसके विश्वास को दृढ़ बनाये और उसके उन्नति का मार्ग प्रशस्त करें | इस सुदृढ़ता के लिए कुछ प्राथमिक बदलाव लाने पड़ेंगे और वो शिक्षा के माध्यम से ही संभव है | माँ भारती उस बदलाव और पुनर्विश्वास के लिए हमें आशिर्वादित करें|

माँ भारती और मेरे पितासे शिक्षा के मार्ग में मुलभुत बदलाव लाने के मेरे प्रयास को आशिर्वादित करने की प्रार्थना से प्रेरित…

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