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With the surge in demands for employable labour, the education industry is now facing new challenges. The traditional models of profitability have become obsolete. Scores of management and technical institutes in the country are facing serious problems in finding students; pushing their operations to sub-optimal levels and even closure.

The problem is multi-fold starting from the policy to the execution and the nature in which these businesses are operating.

Current Thinking

The Conundrum of Educational Strategy: Evolving Opportunities of the Future

India is a country that culturally values education more than prosperity. With a large population, economic development implied a need for skilled labour. However, despite the population, the country faced a dearth in skilled labour. An acute shortage that was very evident during the beginning days of globalization.

The demand being very real, the global markets responded with a plethora of options as solutions. Outsourcing low skilled jobs to low-cost locations with huge manpower like India was one of them. However, since the shortage in higher skilled profiles too was significant, options of using certifications as a means to work-around the absence of quality control measures for higher education started leading the pack. These options worked well with the mediocre educational standards.

Governmental policy was further responsive / eased and a lot of schools and colleges were opened as private establishments. The government also increased intake at their own institutions, especially the premier institutions that led the pack.

The strategy, however, back-fired as it led to the dilution of values and lack of controls at the operational level. In short, over time, we have been observing a situation where there are skills without employability. The situation has multiple effects as it has also led to the failure of the certification paradigm and has created a lacuna in the society that is hard to fill. The worst of which is a social syndrome where the students believe they are educated, but are frustrated at their being deemed as non-employable. When the academic acumen falls below a particular level, the certification paradigm starts losing on its feasibility as a solution.

This situation has given rise to a need for new strategies and agile players: those who can balance the needs of formal, certification based systems and actual industry requirements. Further, the quest to ensure employability of students and balance the fiscal situation has led to many educational enterprises to create new pedagogies to balance these needs, reduce costs and deliver value, while at the same time, connect with new consumer markets that need to be tapped.