The new National Education Policy has spurred much enthusiasm in corporate circles. One of the more agreed upon impacts of the new system, according to industry leaders, is an increase in quality talent and enlargement of the employable talent pool in the future.
A unanimous vote went towards the introduction of vocational training, which HR folks say will be key to building holistic and employable talent.
Adil Malia, HR specialist and CEO, The Firm, seems to be enthusiastic about the new education policy. “It is a move in the right direction and is shifting focus from a rigid to a more flexible and structured learning environment,” he opines.
On the introduction of vocational training, Malia adds, “Rather than receiving linear qualified candidates, we can expect more holistic talent who have fulfilled their interests in multiple fields. A recurring issue in the industry is finding people who are qualified but not suitable. Giving individuals the opportunity to receive vocational training will increase the employability of people, bridge the gap created by mismatch of skills through blended learning.”
SV Nathan, chief talent officer, Deloitte, agrees. “One of the big positives from this is that it will not churn out the usual run-of-the-mill talent and will induce the much-needed creativity we need. Since we are looking at more vocational training, we can expect more well-rounded people to come into the industry,” says Nathan, full of hope.
Giving individuals the opportunity to receive vocational training will increase the employability of people, bridge the gap created by mismatch of skills through blended learning
Patnam Dwarakanath, non-executive chairman, GSK, and veteran HR leader, feels that the focus on vocational training is a much-needed improvement in today’s times. “Seeing that one of the challenges we face is in creating more employable talent, vocational training is the need of the hour,” points out Dwarakanath. “At the same time, people providing the training need to be qualified as well. Moreover, vocational training will need to be associated with the business world,” he further adds.
Malia especially favours the spotlight on vernacular languages as the medium of instruction till the standard VIII. “Having studied in a vernacular medium myself, I believe it will give people the ability to understand and appreciate their own culture, sciences and arts much more than the Western literature alone,” he says.
Hiring outlook remains positive
“Skills are temporary, but capabilities are long lasting and this will lead towards more capability building in the future generations. Looking at it that way, there are huge benefits,” asserts Nathan.
The concern lies in the sustainability of the entire structure and building the support systems to make it possible
Like it or not, the current system, to a large extent, prepares children to mug and recite before teaching them to increase their cognitive perception. In terms of hiring, recruiters may start asking different questions. Nathan feels that hiring managers will be cognisant of these changes and will look to provide opportunities to those who are willing to build their capability level.
Then again, a change on the employees’ side begets a change on the recruiters’ side as well. Hiring managers will also need to be receptive of candidates who come in with varied skills and interests and be capable of evaluating them. “There needs to be a change in mindset at the employer level as well,”warns Dwarakanath.
While the move in itself seems great, leaders have expressed concerns about how the entire process is going to be implemented and sustained over time. If we look at the current situation, the overwhelming move towards digital and online raises the question of how e-learning is going to be implemented, for students across regions and cities in the country. While the the creation of the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF) is a welcome move, the applicability of e-learning across schools and colleges with the existing IT infrastructure remains a point of worry.
One of the big positives from this is that it will not churn out the usual run-of-the-mill talent and will induce the much-needed creativity we need
Dwarakanath opines, “While there is a need to be adaptable, new processes have to be thought through before implementing them. The concern lies in the sustainability of the entire structure and building the support systems to make it possible.”
Nathan expresses his point along similar lines. According to him,the challenge will be implementing the same at the government schools and colleges across villages. He draws our attention to another interesting point, that of the rise of the educational or career counselling industry. At the school and college level, there is a dire need for counsellors who can connect students with their abilities and drive them in the right direction. This will allow such experts to identify the likes, interests and desires of the students and match them with the kind of occupation they will be good at depending on their capabilities. “This will allow people to play on their strengths, which is something I endorse and support.”
To conclude, the ideas are still fresh and the uncertainties too many. We can say that the New Education Policy is a big move and a positive one by the Government to carry forward the education system into a new era. However, there are areas that remain a concern and hopefully, we will have more answers as we move forward.