It is an irony that Indian economy grew at about 9% per annum during the period 2004-09, the first term of UPA Govt. at the centre, but it could generate only one million jobs, whereas during the preceding five years, the rate of GDP growth was although relatively lower, yet it generated 58 million jobs.
The report card of UPA–II Govt. so far in regard to job creation is not perceptibly better either. That’s one of the major reasons why social scientists call these nine years of UPA rule at the centre a period of jobless growth.
It's a common knowledge that unemployment, both full time and part time creates multidimensional social problems that has the potential to erupt into a serious national problem.
With mushrooming number of Management and Engineering colleges - MBA seats in India alone grew almost four-fold from 95,000 in 2006-07 to 3.6 lakh in 2011-12. As a result, the number of MBA and B.Tech degree holders has gone up many folds in the meantime. Unfortunately, however, job opportunities for these job seekers have grown grossly inadequately in the same period.
Earlier this year, Assocham (Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India) came out with a paper on the status of B-schools and Engineering colleges vis-à-vis job opportunities and employability issues which also revealed following startling facts:
1. Since 2009, the recruitments at the campus have gone down by 40%. Consequently, the B-schools and engineering colleges are not able to attract students, more than 180 B-schools have already closed down in 2012 in the major cities Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Dehradun etc. Another 160 are struggling for their survivals.
2. The quality of higher education in India across disciplines is poor and does not meet the needs of the corporate world.
3. There is no quality control, the placements are not commensurate with fees being charged, the faculty is not good enough and there is no infrastructure.
4. The business schools promote their brands only on placement and by boasting about high salaries. They offer theoretical courses which lacks practical skills required by the corporate sector today.
5. The need to update and re-train faculty in emerging global business perspectives is practically absent in many B-schools, often making the course content redundant.
To put it precisely, all the surveys and studies conducted during last few months about the status of Degree Delivery vis-a-vis Job Delivery to the ever growing educated youth population of this largest democracy of the world point out clearly that there is a definite and serious flaw in the whole system which neither the ministry nor the UGC (University Grants Commission) and AICTE (All India Council of Technical Education) could appreciate, if at all, they know well about the malady at the first place, and then address it suitably.
In fact, there has been serious disconnects between the policy decisions being taken at the apex level and the actual ground realities. As far as increasing the seats in technical colleges is concerned, either it is effected by according sanction for opening new colleges without proper need assessment or by allowing existing colleges to have additional seats to bolster their revenue without reviewing their present academic performance and their adherence status of basic promises made to run such colleges.
It is interesting to note here that there were one million seats in engineering colleges of the country in the year 2008 which rose to 2.5 million by 2012 but during the same period even the major job provider, the IT sector, offered lesser jobs - it offered 3.40 lakh jobs in the year 2008 whereas it was 2.35 lakh in 2012. The figure of job offerings by other sectors of economy was not encouraging as well due to general slowdown in growth.
Isn't it very unfortunate for majority of students who pursued their management and/or engineering education by availing large amount of loans which as per the agreement is to be repaid in accordance with the repayment schedule after the completion of said course whether the student gets the job or not? The parents of such degree holders do suffer a lot both because of their sons or daughters not getting employed in time and also due to pressure from banks for timely repayment of the loan amount. The possibility of such loans becoming NPA in banks’ books is another dimension of this issue which deserves pointed discussion separately.
All these aspects and some more give credence to the allegation that the authorities in HRD ministry, UGC, AICTE etc. failed to monitor the quality of education being imparted by majority of these institutions throughout the country. Can't it be termed as another well thought off racket by education mafias to play with the future of millions of students so blatantly? As such, this calls for an in-depth investigation by an independent expert committee without further delay.
Hope the HRD ministers/authorities at the centre and states are listening.
Milan K. Sinha is a freelance writer. He has worked in Banking and Insurance sector for three decades following three years of active writing in various newspapers and magazines. Presently he is engaged in stress management, wellness and awareness activities besides freelance writing.