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ICT and learning modalities: meeting student needs

In particular the integration of technology into the English classroom represents a paradigm shift
to acknowledge the importance of the emerging technological learning style which is
increasingly becoming the fourth learning modality for students of the click and go generation.

Using ICT enables English teachers to tap into this learning style and the dominant youth
culture. Many modern ICT texts can also be used as a starting point for the exploration of
traditional texts. For example, an interactive site such as the virtual tour of the
Globe Theatre site allows us to bring Shakespeares world to life. ICT also enables a
representation of language as a symbolic system. Furthermore the use of well-designed ICT
environments can help pupils grasp abstract concepts such as imagery, literary relations, and

The teacher as facilitator

ICT has many benefits for the classroom teacher. Using presentation software enables teachers to
show ideas dynamically, and deliver content effectively.

Teachers can use a range of teaching tools such as discussion boards, forums, email, raps, web
quests, video and digital photography, e-movies, and even mobile phones as tools for delivery of
class program. This opens reciprocal dialogue between members of the class community and
may be extended to the school community at large through activities such as blogs and wikis.
ICTs and the English classroom
The use of ICT in the English classroom extends beyond its motivational value to address key
outcomes of the syllabus, and allow students to become competent users as well as consumers in
ICT provides the tools for composing and publishing a range of both conventional and multimedia texts so that students read, compose, and transform texts in novel and challenging ways.
Production of texts might include emailing for a range of communication purposes, word
processing written responses, designing websites, using desktop publishing packages and video

editing packages, using programs such as Photostory and Moviemaker, and using animation
software packages.
In the publication of texts, the Internet allows publication and collaboration in ways that were
previously closed, or too expensive or time-consuming.
ICT enhances composing in English by allowing students to

plan, draft, revise and edit their own and others writing using a word processor and other
desktop publishing packages

share and collaborate in the writing process

use hypermedia to write up, lay out and present their work for publication on the Internet

transform different media into one text

email for a range of communication purposes

design websites using informative/ persuasive texts

publish writing in a variety of forms

use video editing programs and programs such as Photo Story , Movie maker and
animation software packages

integrate digital photography and video into their texts

integrate different media into one text

communicate with a wider group of people in a range of forums (e.g. via e-mail,
newsgroups, online conferencing raps) and hence promote collaborative learning .

Responding to ICT Texts

ICT in the English curriculum has changed the nature of texts, the process of reading and
responding to texts, and the ways in which students access texts.
Multimedia texts challenge the notion of the English language and literacy as being about words,
sentences and texts types. The verbal aspect of communication is only part of what is being
communicated in a multi-media text.
There is often a tension between the verbal act of meaning-making, and the meaning which
comes from layout and from other resources intrinsic to the materiality of digital texts (
Reading multimedia texts therefore requires new ways of reading and new reading skills. These
include the ability to read images, icons, hyperlinks, formatting conventions and site maps.

ICT has also changed the ways in which students access texts. ICT allows students to access an
ever widening range of texts including non-linear texts. It enables them to extend their
information sources, to use search strategies to locate and read significant parts of texts quickly
and accurately, and to use the Internet, CD-ROMs and web quests to help with research during
an investigation.
Increasingly ICT provides a forum for student discussion, with sites such as book rap which
allows students to respond to a range of texts on sites which in themselves are valid and valuable
text types.

Studying ICT based Texts

The new literacy
The new literacy encompasses the notion of multi-literacies and critical literacy. Lemke
(1996), for example, suggests that at least four new literacies will be required for the new
information age :

multimedia authoring skills

multimedia critical analysis

cyberspace exploration strategies

cyberspace navigation skills (Lemke 1996:4)

They draw upon film, graphic design, myth, imagery and iconography and are intensely
intertextual in their references, utilising and reshaping for their own purposes older stories and
references, symbols and associations. In the classroom we can tap students interests in
games to teach techniques and perspectives of traditional literacy and literature study.
Studying computer games also enables students to explore relationships between visual
language, design, verbal language, and meaning. It develops their understanding of narrative
techniques making them more aware of how texts work and more reflective about the reading
process and themselves as readers.
Basic Technical skills

Composing: a checklist of basic technical skills such as the ability to use certain
hardware eg a digital camera or software eg., word processing, email, publishing
packages, Powerpoint, Photostory or Moviemaker

Responding: a checklist of basic reading skills /cyberspace navigation skills eg use of

hyperlinks, icons, site maps

Research / Cyberexploration skills: eg., using a search engine, locating specific

information on the web

Literacy skills

Responding: A knowledge and understanding of the distinctive features of multimedia

texts eg the relationship between visual text, written text and design/layout
The formulation of a personal response to the text

Composing: The application of this knowledge and understanding of the distinctive

features of multi media texts to the composition of such texts for a range of audiences and

Critical literacy skills

An understanding of how the composers choices of representational medium (text,

image, sound, multimedia), transitional mode (print, electronic, spoken) position the
reader, gives the text authority, and conveys values and meaning

Teachers are generally ignorant of ICT integrated and interactive lessons and quizzes in the
There are hundreds of websites that have been created to assist in the teaching and learning of
English. In fact there are many 'self-exercises' in the internet.

English Exercises Online at has over 100 free

exercises. They cover vocabulary, grammar and reading comprehension.

For an interactive lesson with a real teacher one can visit At this
site a student can learn English as a second language (ESL) with an ESL teacher.

In spite of the existence of numerous useful websites, one-third of the informants were
ignorant of the existence of interactive and ICT integrated English lessons in the World
Wide Web.

Relevance of English in ICT Age

As the world is in transition, so is English language itself taking new forms. English has changed
substantially in the 1500 years of its use, reflecting patterns of contact with other languages and
the changing communication needs of its people. Today, English is considered a global language
since it is mainly used for communication in the cyber world. With computers playing a major
role in ELT today, the future of English in ICT age is a matter of debate.
Graddol in his book The Future of English identifies significant global trends in Economics,
Technology and Culture which may affect the learning and use of English internationally in the
21st century. The book takes stock of the present, apparently unassailable position of English in
the world and asks whether the status of English can be expected to remain unchanged during the
coming decades of unprecedented social and economic global change. It also explores the impact
on English of developments in Communications Technology with English widely regarded as
having assumed the status of a global language now.
To many economists, cultural theorists and political scientists, the new world order in the
21st century will represent a significant discontinuity with previous centuries (Graddol 3). The
Internet and related Information Technologies may upset the traditional patterns of
communication upon which institutional and national cultures have been built. We have entered
a period in which (English) language will play a more central role than ever before in economics,
political and cultural life.
Teeler and Gray remark (1-2) that because of its origin in the US, most of the communication
via internet takes place in English in spite of, or perhaps due to, the multilingual nature of its
uses. Researchers suggest that this will change once the Internet becomes more popular, but for
the moment English is the common language. This is what makes it such a perfect tool for
English Language Teaching (ELT). Everywhere it (English) is at the leading edge of
technological and scientific development, new thinking in education, economics and
management, new literatures and entertainment genres. These give rise to new vocabularies,
grammatical forms and ways of speaking and writing. The language will grow in usage and
variety, yet simultaneously will diminish in its relative global importance. We may find the
hegemony1 of English replaced by an oligarchy2 of languages, including Spanish and Chinese.

To put in economic terms, the size of the global market for the English language may increase in
absolute terms, but its market share will probably fall (Graddol 2-3).
Commentators vary greatly in their attitude towards and expectations of global English. At one
extreme, there is an unproblematic assumption that the world will eventually speak English and
that this will facilitate the cultural and economic dominance of native speaking countries (for
example UK and US). Such a view is challenged, however, by the growing assertiveness of
countries adopting English as a second language (for example India) and through which they
now express their own values, identities, and create their own intellectual prosperity and export
goods and services to other countries (Graddol, English: History, Diversity and Change 3).
Crystal in this context observes (138-139):
The future of English will be more complex, more demanding of understanding and more
challenging for native speakers and second language users of English. There has never been a
language so widely spread or spoken by so many people as English. There are therefore no
precedents to help us to see what happens to a language when it achieves genuine world status.
The press release for the launch of the Global Report of British Councils English 2000
Project3 summarises the position of English today (2):
Worldwide, there are over 1,400 million people living in countries where English has official
status. One out of five of worlds population speaks English to some level of competence.
Demand from the other four fifths is increasing. English is the main language of books,
newspapers, airports, international business and academic conferences, science and technology,
diplomacy, sports, pop music and advertising.
Scope of ICT in ELT
The acronym ICT has been in vogue among academic researchers since 1980s, but it became
popular after it was used in a report to the UK Government by Dennis Stevenson in 1997 and in
the Revised National Curriculum for England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2000 (ICT in
Education/web). Since then there have been numerous developments in the perception and
practice of IT in Education including the addition of communication to the acronym. To
Loveless, Today, ICT lies at the heart of policy making in education (The Role of ICT 37).
A beneficial fallout of the ITES (Information Technology Enabled Services) boom which is
sweeping Indian Industry is that new technologies are increasingly being used in the
nations classrooms. It is painfully apparent that post-independent Indian Education system has

failed to provide qualitative and meaningful education to every child born after the nations
midnight tryst with destiny. But within the grove of the academia and the drawing rooms of the
intelligentsia, theres rising expectation that the new wonder Information Technology (IT) may
succeed where our system has failed (Shuchi, Efficient Technology Usage in Classrooms 40).
Sagar in his book Digital Technology in Education discusses how ICT can create new, openlearning environments and its instrumental role in shifting the emphasis from a teacher-centred
to a learner-centred environment. According to him, Todays challenge in Education is to define
the best use of ICT for improving the quality of teaching and learning, sharing knowledge and
information, introducing a higher degree of flexibility in response to societal needs (9). As far
as Indian education is concerned, if the current practice of inappropriate use of educational
technology continues, within the next decade, there will be a wide-spread disillusionment with
school/college managements unable to justify the enormous price-tag that accompanies
unproductive technology solutions. So it is the need of the hour to utilise ICT fully in the field of
Education and ELT.
Technology In The Classroom: A Teachers Perspective
A computer to pupil ratio in Australia for primary schools of 1:4 and for secondary schools
of 1:1 clearly demonstrates the availability of technology in the Australian education
system .
The use of ICT in schools is a top priority according to Bevan Doyle, Chief Information
Officer, Department of Education, stating that technology should be mainstream in todays
schooling. This is also reflected by the continuous increase of the national education
budget to 7.1% of Australias GDP in 2011.
A self-proclaimed nerd and English teacher, Selena has spent her career examining the role of
technologies in the classroom. Passionate about ensuring that everything she uses to teach
enhances learning, shes spent years tweaking and re-purposing technology to create innovative,
constructive and fun learning environments for her pupils. Her journey has brought her a great
deal of knowledge about technology integration, in particular in the areas of the TPACK
(Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) framework, Interactive Whiteboards, QR
codes, Augmented Reality and Tablet devices. Now shes an Adjunct Lecturer at Flinders

University, working with pre-service teachers in the School of Education, as well as consulting
in a number of local South Australian Schools.
1. How has technology changed teaching in your opinion?
Technology has changed knowledge acquisition. Instead of relying on a few books and the
knowledge of your peers, parents and teachers for the answer to your questions, we now have the
internet. Students can ask a question on YouTube and get thousands of responses from people all
over the world. They can Google a simple question and be presented with a million answers.
Teaching has had to change to take that into account. Teaching is refocusing on skills (such as
critical thinking) as students are constantly bombarded with information. We cant just be
knowledge fountains if we ever were! And we cant be afraid that a student has access to more
knowledge than we have in our heads.
Its also created a whole raft of fantastic new pedagogical
opportunities for teachers. As we learn to re-purpose
technologies like iPads, Interactive Whiteboards, Twitter
and other Social Media tools, web 2.0 etc. we create new
opportunities to engage our students and to deepen their
understanding of the curriculum content we are teaching.
2. What are your students opinions regarding technology inside (and perhaps also outside)
the classroom, e.g. do you feel they are more engaged?
The word engaged is tricky. If you mean, excited, interested, having fun, then yes. I guess
technology is something that the vast majority consider to be engaging. It is important to
remember though that there are still students who do not like engaging with technology. Its
dangerous to assume that one model fits all. I can engage my students without using technology
just as easily it just takes a bit of imagination and a lot of enthusiasm.
The biggest thing Ive noticed about my students reaction to technology is through the
connections that they are able to make with the outside world. The power of an authentic
audience is incredible. Twitter, blogs etc., they all validate what Im teaching and help them to

grown in confidence and accelerate their learning as they connect with others and get (what they
see as more) genuine feedback.
Students take feedback from machines far less personally too. If the IWB (interactive
whiteboard), app or web 2.0 tool gives them feedback that their answer is incorrect their
reaction is to try again, rather than to be upset that theyve failed in some way. Thats
powerful and very handy indeed!
3. Which technologies do you use most and why?
My IWB is used in every lesson I teach whether that be with Secondary English students or the
pre-service teachers at Flinders University. It wont be interactive all lesson but I make that
technology work hard so that I can ensure that all students are included and are considered
pedagogically. The power the software has to create opportunities for differentiation,
modelling, assessment for learning and many more cannot be underestimated.
Technology is going to continue to develop in a way that will mean work is in the cloud, we
are becoming hyper connected and have opportunities to bring the outside world into our
classroom. It is an essential part of learning and teaching even now and its role will only
become more important and prominent.
Also, when introducing new things to the classroom, the most important thing to keep in mind
are the students! It is essential that everything, e.g. new technologies, serves a specific purpose
and brings benefits to students learning.
Technology needs to be introduced with a plan, i.e. its no use to introduce something that will
be scrapped in a years time. Teachers need to see the benefits of the technology they use and
need to be trained and supported along the way in order to make the most of it.
The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in schools have been subsumed in the
Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA). Now ICT in Schools is a component of
the RMSA. The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Schools was launched in
December, 2004 and revised in 2010 to provide opportunities to secondary stage students to
mainly build their capacity on ICT skills and make them learn through computer aided learning
process. The Scheme is a major catalyst to bridge the digital divide amongst students of various
socio economic and other geographical barriers. The Scheme provides support to States/UTs to
establish computer labs on sustainable basis.
The scheme has essentially four components:

The first one is the partnership with State Government and Union Territories
Administrations for providing computer aided education to Secondary and Higher Secondary
Government and Government aided schools.

The second is the establishment of smart schools, which shall be technology demonstrators.

The third component is teacher related interventions, such as provision for engagement of an
exclusive teacher, capacity enhancement of all teachers in ICT and a scheme for national ICT
award as a means of motivation.

Fourth one relates to the development of a e-content, mainly through Central Institute of
Education Technologies (CIET), six State Institutes of Education Technologies (SIETs) and 5
Regional Institutes of Education (RIEs), as also through outsourcing.
The Highlights Of The Revised Scheme Are: -

The non-recurring expenditure for school has been revised from Rs. 6.7 lakh to Rs. 6.4 lakh
whereas annual recurring expenditure has been revised from 1.34 lakh to Rs. 2.70 lakh. The
recurring cost will be provided for a period of 5 years from the year of sanction.


The objective of the Scheme is to cover all Government and government aided secondary and
higher secondary schools by giving priority for early coverage of schools in educationally
backward blocks and in areas having concentration of SC/ST/minority/weaker section.

Under the revised scheme, there is a provision of a suitably qualified full time computer teacher
in each secondary and higher secondary school. In case of higher secondary school having
computer related subjects as elective, there would be need for a post graduate in computers

There are provisions for in-service (induction and refresher) training for all teachers in secondary
and higher secondary schools to enable them to impart ICT enabled teaching.

150 smart schools would be sent up by State Government and UTs at the district level using a
grant of Rs. 25 lakh for a schools and a recurring grant of Rs. 2.5 lakh per year. This would
enable provision of at least 40 computers in each such school.

There is a provision to strengthen SIETs to contribute to e-content development.

Management, monitoring and evaluation will be strengthened.

Convergence with the existing programme would be essential especially in teacher training and
ensuring reliable power supply and internet connectivity.

The scheme includes National Award for teachers using ICT in schools in the teaching
learning process.

The sharing pattern will be 75.25 between the Centre and the State except for the north eastern
States including Sikkim where the ration would on 90.10.
The scheme currently covers both Government and Government aided Secondary and Higher
Secondary Schools. Financial assistance is provided for procurement of computers and
peripherals, educational software, training of teachers, development of e-contents, Internet
connectivity & set up of smart schools. So far, 87033 government and government aided
secondary and higher secondary schools have been approved for coverage under ICT in Schools
Financial Assistance And Cost Norms
Financial assistance is given to States, CIET and SIETs on the basis of the approvals accorded by
Project Approval Board (PAB) chaired by Secretary (School Education and Literacy). The


project cost is shared between Centre and States in ration of 75:25 except for the NER states
including Sikkim where it is 90:10.
Smart School
Under the existing Information Communication Technology in School Scheme as against the
target of setting up of 150 more such schools, this Ministry has approved for coverage of 63
Smart School so far. The Smart Schools are being established in the Districts by conversion of
one of the existing State Government schools to serve as a role model and Technology
Demonstrator amoung the neighbourhood schools.
National Award For Teachers Using ICT For Innovation In Education
Under the ICT in Schools, to promote computer enabled learning and usage of ICT in teaching in
Government and Government aided Secondary and Higher Secondary Schools has provision for
instituting the National Award for innovative use of ICT to motivate the Teachers and Teacher
Educators for innovative use of ICT in teaching-learning.
The National Award for Teachers using ICT for innovation in education for the year 2010, 2011,
2012 and 2013 was given away to the 9 awardees along with the National Teacher Award on
Teachers Day.

Growing mismatch between graduate skills, market needs
Alya Mishra07 February 2014 Issue No:306
Shock reports have revealed a vast skills gap in India, with several surveys suggesting that
half of all graduates are not employable in any sector based on industry standards. This has
sparked growing concern about the mismatch between universities and the needs of the job


Among some disciplines the skills gap appears to be staggering 75% of IT graduates are
deemed unemployable, 55% in manufacturing, 55% in healthcare and 50% in banking
and insurance, according to Higher Education in India: Vision 2030, a report produced by
international consultants Ernst and Young for the Federation of Indian Chambers of
Commerce and Industry, or FICCI.

The National Association of Software and Services Companies maintains that of around
three million graduates each year, less than a third of graduates of engineering colleges and
only 10% to 15% of regular graduates are employable.

And despite an increase in education levels, one in three graduates up to the age of 29 was
unemployed according to the Labour Ministrys Youth Employment-Unemployment
Scenario 2012-13 released last November.

In urban areas one in four young graduates was unemployed, while in rural areas it was
36.6% of graduates a substantial rise compared to the previous year. The ministrys
survey released in 2012 found graduate unemployment in urban India to be 8.2%.

As the labour market tightens for graduates in all sectors manufacturing, technology,
hospitality or corporate employability is becoming an issue, although how to measure it is still

Several of the studies citing very low employability levels appeared to base them on the
need for high levels of English proficiency and soft skills, not just technical skills.

The largest pool of graduates in India is generalists with broad socio-economic knowledge
but no specific technical skills, according to a British Council report Higher Education in
South Asia 2013, released last December.

There is a definite disconnect between the skills and aptitude of the majority of graduates and
the needs of industry, according to Ashok Reddy, managing director and co-founder of the
recruitment agency Teamlease Services India.
At entry level you expect a graduate to come with certain skills such as communication,
inter-personal, ability to speak English and work as a team, and basic computer
knowledge. For a technical graduate functional skills in the area of specialisation are a
must. But these are absent today, Reddy told University World News.
The company refers to a geographic mismatch, a sector mismatch and a skills mismatch in the
country, which may be unnecessarily confining as many as 300 million people to lowproductivity jobs, among them many graduates.

Universities and employability

Notably, only two Indian institutions featured in the top 100 Global Employability
University Ranking 2013 compiled by French human resources consulting group Emerging
Associates along with Trendence, a German polling and research institute.

The Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, ranked 23 and the Indian School of Business, or ISB,
was at 52.
A majority of employable graduates in India come from the countrys top 30 institutions.
These institutions are also most likely to be collaborating with industry.

The ISB holds annual industry events and runs experiential learning programmes involving
collaboration between student teams and industry on real-world business issues. ISB Hyderabad
has a student-run professional club sponsored by a corporation that also mentors its members.

Top institutions are concerned about employability.

In 2013 the University of Delhi moved from a three-year to a four-year undergraduate


programme modelled on the American system, which Vice-chancellor Professor Dinesh Singh
described as skills-oriented, supported by work placements and with different exit options
to make graduates more employable.
The previous system was not turning out employable graduates, according to Singh. We have
not touched the knowledge component but added other values such as communication, applied
language, information technology, basic mathematics and other skills that each graduate must
have to be employable, he told University World News.
The universitys four-year programme is just a year old and it will be a while before it is evident
whether the extra year and foundation courses improve the attractiveness of students to
employers and the ability to do the job.

The role of universities

While the top 30 Indian institutions, both private and government-funded, have begun to focus
on improving the soft and technical skills of graduates, a large majority of institutions are far
behind industry expectations.
The challenge is to impart skills to the large majority of Indian students, and to maintain
quality in more institutions below the top 30, Reddy said.

In a bid to bridge the gap between industry and higher education, FICCI has set up three regional
knowledge hubs in the north, south and western regions of India to identify institutions and
collaborate in improving the curriculum, teacher training and student exchanges as well as
facilitating international tie-ups.
Students will get an opportunity to work on industry projects, thus giving them practical
training and improving employability, said Dr Rajan Saxena, vice-chancellor of Narsee Monjee
Institute of Management Studies in Mumbai and co-chair of the FICCI higher education


But for the most part, apart from initiatives such as that introduced by FICCI, universities in
India are not willing to have significant collaborations with industry, noted Reddy. Universities
often cite the need to adhere to a tight curriculum rather than keep up with industry changes.

Universities have faced flak in recent years over inflexible curricula, rote teaching and
learning and lack of experiential learning outside the classroom. But academics say
industry expectations are often unrealistic and misguided.
While the mismatch issue is valid and important and real, its more about expectations on both
sides, said Shanti Jagannathan, senior education specialist at the Asian Development Bank in
Manila. Employers want everyone to come prepared and ready. Employers need to invest in
their own employees.

Professor NV Varghese, director of the Centre for Policy Research in Higher Education in New
Delhi, said: Industry is expecting a finished product who can be employed and universities
cannot provide that. You cannot degenerate universities to training institutions.
Technology and skill sets are changing quickly and you cannot read just the university
curriculum every time that happens.
India needed to focus on expanding the non-university sector, added Varghese. Expecting one
system to provide everything is unrealistic.
FICCIs Higher Education in India: Vision 2030 also suggests a multi-pronged approach:
research-focused institutions for high quality research and innovation; career-focused institutions
offering technical and professional courses that produce industry-ready graduates; and
foundation institutions that offer a wide range of courses providing well-rounded education and
skills relevant to local industry and communities.


Geographic, sectoral imbalances

But India is a large and diverse country, both in terms of university quality and the location of
industries and jobs.
In information technology there are hubs around the country such as Bangalore,
Hyderabad, Pune. Manufacturing is also concentrated around certain states, noted Kashmir
University Vice-chancellor Professor Talat Ahmad, adding that many young graduates migrate
from other states to Delhi, Mumbai and the southern regions.
Unless you have companies visiting campus to select students, both employers and students
have to know where to reach out to each other, Ahmad said.

The employment challenge is not only related to the geographic location of jobs but also the

Skills Development in South Asia, a recent Economist Intelligence Unit report commissioned
by the British Council, cited surveys by Indias National Skill Development Corporation,
or NSDC, which showed that the largest job growth in India would be in construction,
automotive, retail and healthcare.

In the construction and automotive industries alone, close to 100 million new jobs are
expected to be created by 2022. However, students want jobs in different industries altogether.
Almost 50% of respondents said they would like to work outside the NSDCs eight high growth
sectors, according to a survey. Even among those keen to work in high growth sectors, students
were most interested in jobs in banking, healthcare, retail and hospitality where job growth is not
expected to be as rapid as in some other areas.

The NSDC has conducted skill gap studies across the country to determine skills in demand in a
particular region. The information is shared with suppliers or training providers.


Mapping Supply and Demand

The government is also building a labour market information system to map supply and
Once this is in place parts of the system will be rolled out this year all players such as
training providers, assessment or certification agencies or content providers, job seekers and job
providers will be able to come together on one job-matching platform.
NSDCs Udaan initiative, for instance, focuses on providing employment opportunities for
40,000 college graduates in Jammu and Kashmir states over the next five years.
With most jobs concentrated around Indias biggest cities, a long way from Kashmir, the NSDC
and its skills councils have to play the role of facilitators, said Kashmir Universitys Ahmad.

Skill deficit among Indian graduates: A pressing issue

Tuesday, October 07, 2014 , Written by Anasua Chakraborty 5249
The rise in the number of candidates unable to meet the industry's needs, due to lack of careeroriented knowledge and skills, is a pressing problem in todays corporate work-space.
India Inc. is going through a near crisis situation due to lack of employable candidates. A recent
NASSCOM report says that only 10% of fresh graduates in India are employable. More
shocking facts have come up in the third edition of the National Employability Report,
Engineering Graduates 2014 conducted by a private employability solutions company that
reveals that only18.09% engineers actually get a job.
Further even those employed lack key skills. Of the 1.2 lakh IT/Engineering/Management
candidates surveyed across multiple states, 91.82% lack programming and algorithm skills,
71.23% lack soft and cognitive skills, 60% lack domain skills, 73.63% lack English

speaking and comprehension skills and 57.96% have poor analytical and
quantitative skills.


What do industry experts say on this unhealthy trend?

Quality of education is now below par. Moreover, the curriculum in educational institutes
doesnt have any relevance to the requirements of the industry, says Rajiv Burman, Managing
Partner, Lighthouse Partners.
Validating the same, Sidharth Agarwal, Director, Spectrum Talent Management says, The irony
with the Indian education system is that every year more than 3 million students graduate but just
40-45 % of them are employable. Poor quality of teachers combined with an outdated curriculum
is to be blamed for this major issue. Not much emphasis is paid on developing skills like
communication, technology etc.
Sunil Goel, Managing Director, GlobalHunt India Pvt. Ltd. explains, It has been observed that
College/university education have become very text-book centric and candidates get little to no
industry exposure, whereas as employers we require candidates who have the basic technical
knowledge, interpersonal skills, fast learning ability, a focused approach along with high level of
integrity and stability.
So is this giving rise to a breach in the corporate workspace: more of an attitudinal mismatch
between employer expectations and candidate expectations?
R. Anand, Vice President, Rewards, Career Management & Planning, HCL Technologies states,
A generational divide between the people already at work (The Gen X) and the lot that is
yet to start their professional career (The Gen Y) is definitely prevalent. Young
professionals who wish to be future ready must be prepared to learn to cope with work and life
pressures as unlike their secure university life, the real world is a much harder place with fewer
buffers. They need to learn to toughen up and proactively change their mind-set and priorities.
While the obvious solution to unlock Indias much discussed demographic dividend is to
empower candidates with requisite skills, the question remains: can employability skills be


Industry and education both need to work together, so that talent is not wasted. Candidates on
their part should work towards acquiring industry specific skills through some skill training
courses; get exposure though industry training programs to get on the job experience, suggests
Sunil Goel, Managing Director, GlobalHunt India Pvt. Ltd.
R. Anand, Vice President, Rewards, Career Management & Planning, HCL Technologies hints at
few more tips that the fresh graduates can incorporate while looking for jobs, Graduates can
do simple things to become application focused. They must focus on the importance of
clarity, consistency and confidence in getting across their messages or intentions while
communicating - this is a key to working with people and for people in future.