Rekha completed her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, two years ago. She secured first division, with a CGPA of 6.7. Yet, despite her best efforts, she has not succeeded in finding a job. Rekha is in despair.
Many graduates from Indian colleges and universities face a similar predicament. A study by NDTV revealed the disturbing fact that nearly 50% of India’s graduates are unemployable. What ails the Indian Higher Education sector? Why are people with degrees unable to find employment? This sorry state of affairs in the country’s Higher Education Sector can be attributed to three major factors. Let us see what they are.
1. Shortage of Good Teachers in Colleges and Universities
This is inarguably the most serious problem facing the higher education sector of the country. The insightful article Why Do India’s Universities Experience Faculty Shortages At All? points out that India’s universities and other higher education institutions continue to be plagued by high faculty shortages. Even prestigious institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) are reeling under an acute shortage of qualified teachers. This shortage is having a highly adverse impact on the quality of higher education in the country.
2. Inability to Bridge the Gap Between Academic Content and Industry Needs
The syllabus of most programs offered by Indian colleges and universities is outdated. C.N.R. Rao, an eminent scientist and recipient of Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honor, points out that 90% of universities and higher educational institutions in the country have outdated curriculums. This is having a serious impact on the employability of graduates, as they lack the knowledge and skills needed by companies.
3. Inadequate Focus on Developing Communication Skills
A vast number of Indian graduates do not have good English language skills, and this is telling on their ability to find employment. Many universities and colleges in the country are taking various steps such as conducting workshops to remedy the situation, yet a lot more needs to be done.
How Can These Problems Be Resolved?
As a technology-enabled learning professional, I believe that the full potential of mobile learning (m-learning) needs to be harnessed to resolve these problems confronting the Indian higher education sector. Mobile devices have become an integral part of the contemporary Indian life, and there is no reason m-learning cannot be used to improve the quality of education in the country. Here are a few ideas to leverage the learning format.
1. Deliver Pre-recorded Lectures on Mobile Devices
The concept of using pre-recorded lectures, delivered by experts, to overcome the shortage of qualified teaching staff is nothing new. Many prestigious B-schools in the country are already delivering pre-recorded online lectures, and I feel that this model can be applied to higher educational institutions in the country. Smartphones and tablets are convenient platforms to access pre-recorded lectures and help use classroom time optimally. Consider the following scenario.
An engineering college delivers pre-recorded lectures on Calculus and Solid Geometry on the mobile devices of its first semester students. The students “attend” the lectures at home and make a note of the doubts they have. A classroom session is held, every Wednesday, by the faculty member who has delivered the lectures. The students can use the session to clarify their doubts.
2. Go for M-learning Curriculums to Make Students Employment-Ready
It is a good idea to use m-learning to impart knowledge and skills needed by the industry. For instance, you can impart digital marketing skills to MBA graduates in a cost-effective and convenient manner using the m-learning format. In fact, a management education institute encourages its students to access the video-based learning content provided by HubSpot to acquire online marketing skills needed by the industry, and get certified on the same.
3. Use M-learning Videos to Improve Students’ Ability to Communicate
Videos are useful tools to improve the communication skills of college and university graduates. Researchers at the University of San Francisco showed that video-based learning materials are very effective in enhancing the English language skills of learners. Smartphones and tablets are ideal platforms to access video-based content, and this makes m-learning the perfect choice to deliver learning videos to enhance communication skills.
We thus see that m-learning can go a long way in resolving major problems faced by the Indian Higher Education sector. Have other ideas on using m-learning to improve the quality of education in colleges and universities? Do share with us.