India Graduates Millions, but Too Few Are Fit to Hire

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by kickok1975, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. kickok1975

    kickok1975 Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    [​IMG]

    Wall street journal reports, April 5th.

    BANGALORE, India—Call-center company 24/7 Customer Pvt. Ltd. is desperate to find new recruits who can answer questions by phone and email. It wants to hire 3,000 people this year. Yet in this country of 1.2 billion people, that is beginning to look like an impossible goal.

    So few of the high school and college graduates who come through the door can communicate effectively in English, and so many lack a grasp of educational basics such as reading comprehension, that the company can hire just three out of every 100 applicants.
    Many recent engineering grads in India say that after months of job hunting they are still unemployed and lack the skills necessary to join the workforce. Critics say corruption and low standards are to blame. Poh Si Teng reports from New Delhi.

    India projects an image of a nation churning out hundreds of thousands of students every year who are well educated, a looming threat to the better-paid middle-class workers of the West. Their abilities in math have been cited by President Barack Obama as a reason why the U.S. is facing competitive challenges.
    Yet 24/7 Customer's experience tells a very different story. Its increasing difficulty finding competent employees in India has forced the company to expand its search to the Philippines and Nicaragua. Most of its 8,000 employees are now based outside of India.

    In the nation that made offshoring a household word, 24/7 finds itself so short of talent that it is having to offshore.
    "With India's population size, it should be so much easier to find employees," says S. Nagarajan, founder of the company. "Instead, we're scouring every nook and cranny."

    India's economic expansion was supposed to create opportunities for millions to rise out of poverty, get an education and land good jobs. But as India liberalized its economy starting in 1991 after decades of socialism, it failed to reform its heavily regulated education system.

    Business executives say schools are hampered by overbearing bureaucracy and a focus on rote learning rather than critical thinking and comprehension. Government keeps tuition low, which makes schools accessible to more students, but also keeps teacher salaries and budgets low. What's more, say educators and business leaders, the curriculum in most places is outdated and disconnected from the real world.

    "If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys," says Vijay Thadani, chief executive of New Delhi-based NIIT Ltd. India, a recruitment firm that also runs job-training programs for college graduates lacking the skills to land good jobs.
    Muddying the picture is that on the surface, India appears to have met the demand for more educated workers with a quantum leap in graduates. Engineering colleges in India now have seats for 1.5 million students, nearly four times the 390,000 available in 2000, according to the National Association of Software and Services Companies, a trade group.

    But 75% of technical graduates and more than 85% of general graduates are unemployable by India's high-growth global industries, including information technology and call centers, according to results from assessment tests administered by the group.
    Another survey, conducted annually by Pratham, a nongovernmental organization that aims to improve education for the poor, looked at grade-school performance at 13,000 schools across India. It found that about half of the country's fifth graders can't read at a second-grade level.
    At stake is India's ability to sustain growth—its economy is projected to expand 9% this year—while maintaining its advantages as a low-cost place to do business.

    The challenge is especially pressing given the country's more youthful population than the U.S., Europe and China. More than half of India's population is under the age of 25, and one million people a month are expected to seek to join the labor force here over the next decade, the Indian government estimates. The fear is that if these young people aren't trained well enough to participate in the country's glittering new economy, they pose a potential threat to India's stability.
    "Economic reforms are not about goofy rich guys buying Mercedes cars," says Manish Sabharwal, managing director of Teamlease Services Ltd., an employee recruitment and training firm in Bangalore. "Twenty years of reforms are worth nothing if we can't get our kids into jobs."

    Yet even as the government and business leaders acknowledge the labor shortage, educational reforms are a long way from becoming law. A bill that gives schools more autonomy to design their own curriculum, for example, is expected to be introduced in the cabinet in the next few weeks, and in parliament later this year.
    "I was not prepared at all to get a job," says Pradeep Singh, 23, who graduated last year from RKDF College of Engineering, one of the city of Bhopal's oldest engineering schools. He has been on five job interviews—none of which led to work. To make himself more attractive to potential employers, he has enrolled in a five-month-long computer programming course run by NIIT.

    Mr. Singh and several other engineering graduates said they learned quickly that they needn't bother to go to some classes. "The faculty take it very casually, and the students take it very casually, like they've all agreed not to be bothered too much," Mr. Singh says. He says he routinely missed a couple of days of classes a week, and it took just three or four days of cramming from the textbook at the end of the semester to pass the exams.

    Others said cheating, often in collaboration with test graders, is rampant. Deepak Sharma, 26, failed several exams when he was enrolled at a top engineering college outside of Delhi, until he finally figured out the trick: Writing his mobile number on the exam paper.
    That's what he did for a theory-of-computation exam, and shortly after, he says the examiner called him and offered to pass him and his friends if they paid 10,000 rupees each, about $250. He and four friends pulled together the money, and they all passed the test.
    "I feel almost 99% certain that if I didn't pay the money, I would have failed the exam again," says Mr. Sharma.

    BC Nakra, Pro Vice Chancellor of ITM University, where Mr. Sharma studied, said in an interview that there is no cheating at his school, and that if anyone were spotted cheating in this way, he would be "behind bars." He said he had read about a case or two in the newspaper, and in the "rarest of the rare cases, it might happen somewhere, and if you blow [it] out of all proportions, it effects the entire community." The examiner couldn't be located for comment.
    Cheating aside, the Indian education system needs to change its entire orientation to focus on learning, says Saurabh Govil, senior vice president in human resources at Wipro Technologies. Wipro, India's third largest software exporter by sales, says it has struggled to find skilled workers. The problem, says Mr. Govil, is immense: "How are you able to change the mind-set that knowledge is more than a stamp?"
    At 24/7 Customer's recruiting center on a recent afternoon, 40 people were filling out forms in an interior lobby filled with bucket seats. In a glass-walled conference room, a human-resources executive interviewed a group of seven applicants. Six were recent college graduates, and one said he was enrolled in a correspondence degree program.

    One by one, they delivered biographical monologues in halting English. The interviewer interrupted one young man who spoke so fast, it was hard to tell what he was saying. The young man was instructed to compose himself and start from the beginning. He tried again, speaking just as fast, and was rejected after the first round.

    Another applicant, Rajan Kumar, said he earned a bachelor's degree in engineering a couple of years ago. His hobby is watching cricket, he said, and his strength is punctuality. The interviewer, noting his engineering degree, asked why he isn't trying to get a job in a technical field, to which he replied: "Right now, I'm here." This explanation was judged inadequate, and Mr. Kumar was eliminated, too.
    A 22-year-old man named Chaudhury Laxmikant Dash, who graduated last year, also with a bachelor's in engineering, said he's a game-show winner whose hobby is international travel. But when probed by the interviewer, he conceded, "Until now I have not traveled." Still, he made it through the first-round interview, along with two others, a woman and a man who filled out his application with just one name, Robinson.
    For their next challenge, they had to type 25 words a minute. The woman typed a page only to learn her pace was too slow at 18 words a minute. Mr. Dash, sweating and hunched over, couldn't get his score high enough, despite two attempts.

    Only Mr. Robinson moved on to the third part of the test, featuring a single paragraph about nuclear war followed by three multiple-choice questions. Mr. Robinson stared at the screen, immobilized. With his failure to pass the comprehension section, the last of the original group of applicants was eliminated.
    The average graduate's "ability to comprehend and converse is very low," says Satya Sai Sylada, 24/7 Customer's head of hiring for India. "That's the biggest challenge we face."

    Indeed, demand for skilled labor continues to grow. Tata Consultancy Services, part of the Tata Group, expects to hire 65,000 people this year, up from 38,000 last year and 700 in 1986.
    Trying to bridge the widening chasm between job requirements and the skills of graduates, Tata has extended its internal training program. It puts fresh graduates through 72 days of training, double the duration in 1986, says Tata chief executive N. Chandrasekaran. Tata has a special campus in south India where it trains 9,000 recruits at a time, and has plans to bump that up to 10,000.
    Wipro runs an even longer, 90-day training program to address what Mr. Govil, the human-resources executive, calls the "inherent inadequacies" in Indian engineering education. The company can train 5,000 employees at once.

    Both companies sent teams of employees to India's approximately 3,000 engineering colleges to assess the quality of each before they decided where to focus their campus recruiting efforts. Tata says 300 of the schools made the cut; for Wipro, only 100 did.
    Tata has also begun recruiting and training liberal-arts students with no engineering background but who want secure jobs. And Wipro has set up a foundation that spends $4 million annually to train teachers. Participants attend week-long workshops and then get follow-up online mentoring. Some say that where they used to spend a third of class time with their backs to students, drawing diagrams on the blackboard, they now engage students in discussion and use audiovisual props.


    "Before, I didn't take the students into consideration," says Vishal Nitnaware, a senior lecturer in mechanical engineering at SVPM College of Engineering in rural Maharashtra state. Now, he says, he tries to engage them, so they're less nervous to speak up and participate in discussions.
    This kind of teaching might have helped D.H. Shivanand, 25, the son of farmers from a village outside of Bangalore. He just finished a master's degree in business administration—in English—from one of Bangalore's top colleges. His father borrowed the $4,500 tuition from a small lending agency. Now, almost a year after graduating, Mr. Shivanand is still looking for an entry-level finance job.

    Tata and IBM Corp., among dozens of other firms, turned him down, he says, after he repeatedly failed to answer questions correctly in the job interviews. He says he actually knew the answers but froze because he got nervous, so he's now taking a course to improve his confidence, interviewing skills and spoken English. His family is again pitching in, paying 6,000 rupees a month for his rent, or about $130, plus 1,500 rupees for the course, or $33.
    "My family has invested so much money in my education, and they don't understand why I am still not finding a job," says Mr. Shivanand. "They are hoping very, very much that I get a job soon, so after all of their investment, I will finally support them."

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  3. Phenom

    Phenom Regular Member

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    This is a serious problem,

    One way to deal with this is to include corporates in formulating curriculum. And also by reigning down on the private universities that have been mushrooming in India in the past decade.
     
  4. niharjhatn

    niharjhatn Regular Member

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    Ironic when something like 1 in 20 doctors in America are Indian...

    but the education gap among the better universities/schools vs the lower ones are well known.
     
  5. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    They are not fit to hire: because rote memorization is emphasized in our country, in contrast to critical reasoning and independent thought, which is the order of the day.

    Thankfully, that is beginning to change with Kapil Sibal's sweeping education reforms.

    Reference.









    This is the debate going on right now in the country.


    http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/money-mantra/challenges-india-is-facing-in-higher-education/192973




    And in what I consider a positive trend:




    And in particular, this:

    http://defenceforumindia.com/showthread.php?t=8965&page=1


    These are all multiple year old videos. And if the no. of new domestic and foreign Universities opening up shop in Mumbai is any indication <Mumbai is expensive to open up shop in>, the education sector is about to take off on an unprecedented trajectory.

    And I just thought I'd share this video I found while searching for the other ones.

    Was purty inspiring to me, even though the reporter had a funny twang to her voice at the end:

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  6. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    precisely, cramming is what gets taught in our schools, colleges and univs, hardly any focus on critical reasoning and analysis. i have always wondered why a basic thing like case study and presentations on it become a feature of the curriculum from early school days which becomes a basis to promotion to next level and do away with all that cramming crap, the mind is just not allowed to think beyond the set boundaries, the thinking process is just killed.

    kapil sibal has tried a hand at reforms but the question remains how successfully will he be at the end of it all or are we still going to have unemployable graduates who the corporate will be forced to train and end up wasting resources and hitting the bottom lines which make the product-line in which they deal in uncompetitive.

    anyways a part of reform is to have 30 people graduate by 2020 of every 100 people who are of college going age. hope kapil sibal delivers and for that he need not get too much sucked into and wasting time on advocating raja's and dmk's case in 2g scam!
     
  7. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    You simply can't push every another young individual in IT bandwagon.

    Every person has different skillset & can not be fit for demands of IT biggies.

    Its against law of nature.

    --

    Articles talks about lack of eligible human resource for Customer TeleService or backoffice job.

    In most cases today, engineering graduate considers BPO/KPO as low standard job. They are not even eligible to be recruited by these BPO companies, because they were not trained/educated for this "Hello, How may I assist you?" service.



    Today's young graduates need to look beyond ITscape. And young school goers should choose education stream properly rather than being unemployed 5-7yrs from current market situations.

    This is the exact reason why Indian growth has lagged in Manufacturing sector. Indian graduates, institutionalists have failed to generate promising career picture minus IT.


    There is a massive cross-management gap between Career pursuers, Universities & Industry requirements.


    The title of thread is quite judgmental.

    It should be "India graduates millions but, too few are suitable to hire" than "India graduates millions but, too few are fit to hire" which insanely dismisses potential quotient of many young Indians.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
  8. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    All this talk about corporates taking control of indian educational system,having a say in its content,makes for a sad commentary on the current state of and future prospect of Indian education.The moot question is what kind of objectives are hoping to set and achieve by our current ventures and so called reforms in the education system,aren't we reducing the whole import of imparting education to producing dumb factory machines encumbered with the burden of running the new age economy........

    can all the so called education reforms restore India's place in history as the land of original thought and original thinkers,if not why indulge in another wasteful exercise anyway.India's education system cannot remain beholden to the whims of a materialist and consumerist elite.

    P.S:Corporate India scours for hiring talent in India's leading education institution where the education is imparted in English,a language which is not the mode of imparting education for vast majority of Indians.So the talk of corporates not finding relevant talent from pool of 1.2 billion people is irrelevant hyperbole.
     
  9. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    SATA, you are getting very philosophical about this; and yes, there is import in intellectual independence and freedom of thought; but those are confined to what I would consider 'third-sector economies'.

    On the other hand, for most of our part of the world, getting there is what primarily counts. Ideational flexibility is relegated to a state of sufficiency, while we strive to catch on with <a part of> the world that has reached that stage of fluency, but has been unable to bridge it.

    But for now, that is the need of the hour. Acquiring certain skill sets that go with a knowledge and manufactures-based economy. All the west's nations have gone that way. And we can not, for demographic and political considerations, afford to go any other. With a demographic like the one we have in India, we are the workforce of the future. And demographic and political considerations trump any other.

    Even in first-world countries, these are confined to a small section. International competitiveness and putting food on the table simply trump any other considerations. That is < for better, or worse > the state of the market economy we live in today.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
  10. Godless-Kafir

    Godless-Kafir DFI Buddha Senior Member

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    kickok1975s posts recently have become negative, i see more posts high lighting Indias negative aspects getting posted! I wonder if we have another ajtr in the makeing? :D
     
  11. Godless-Kafir

    Godless-Kafir DFI Buddha Senior Member

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    Indian education curriculum and system has to be the most boring in the world. Particularly kids shit in the pants if the Maths master enters the class. Its monotonous, robotic and down right boring style of education which does not impart any skills or practical knowledge.
     
  12. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    Skills required for putting food on the table will always be required,however imparting such skills is only part of the holistic approach to education witnessed in India.The 'Industrialization'( if i can use such term) of Indian education may benefit the entrepreneurs,afterall it benefits them if the state takes upon the task,investing its own scarce resources, of training personnel which ideally should be left to the entrepreneurs.Leaving Indian education to corporates or a rad map charted to suit their needs will leave vital void in the holistic development of the individual and the society,afterall there is just only that short space of time available to most individuals to acquaint with 'himself',what does the individual learn about himself in this industrialized education system.

    I'm afraid my problem with this completely materialist approach to adult education is not just dry philosophy,but has larger social and national ramification.One of the primary reasons for the absence of leadership qualities among the ruling fraternity In India's is primarily because of this misbegotten approach to an individuals education.With our current approach to education we might eventually end up with a large pool of brilliant engineers,doctors,software engineers et al,but will be poorer for individuals with common wisdom,intellect and humanity.This is something a society cannot afford to be without.
     
  13. amitkriit

    amitkriit Senior Member Senior Member

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    kickok1975 has raised a valid point, truth hurts but we must embrace it. Indian universities and schools of higher learning are churning out incompetent and unprofessional people. This has become a Human Resource nightmare for corporates. Recently we carried out recruitment for software developers, we found that at least 10% of resumes were fake, and only 2% of all candidates were fit for the job despite the fact that all those resumes were properly screened by our HR consultant before sending to us. This is not only true for Technical jobs but all "White collar" jobs.

    We hire only MCAs and B.Tech (Computer Science and Engineering) for our development team. Every tom D|k and harry in India possess MCA, B.Tech and MBA degrees today.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
  14. mattster

    mattster Respected Member Senior Member

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    So here is the question - why is it that so many Indian families are willing to send their kids to these half-ass colleges and pay the tuition when a little bit of research will tell them that most of the graduates are unemployable.

    Also why isnt there any accreditation bodies for Engineering schools like they have in the US and other countries. In the US it is ABET, and if you lose your accredation, you might as well close down your program.
     
  15. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    90% students memorize rather than understand. They get marks for it but when time to apply ones mind then they suffer badly.

    Whats worse is that this is encouraged by schools across the country. Instead of teacher just lecturing in a class there should be debate. Instead of "Define......?" questions in exams there should be analytical questions and also courseworks that are checked for plagiarism so person will write it himself.

    I was always a shit student in school because i didn't memorize like others did and barely passed but in uk university i got higher marks than so called "topper" from my same school because his only skill was that he was good at mugging up and when time came for presentations and Q&A session the 'shit hit the fan' as far as he was concerned.
     
  16. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    How is that any different than China?
     
  17. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Excellent valid point. Degrees are often practically bought and not really earned, as it typically should be.
     
  18. TheLord

    TheLord Regular Member

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    The problem starts with the parents. For them, apart from the doctor, engineer or IT professional there is no other profession exists. They all want their kids to become any one of this. Naturally different people have different skills and they naturally develop a passion for it. When they are force in to other fields, they loose interest. Teachers are no different from the parents, sometime even worse. They do the same in the schools.

    I have personal experience with the some engineering students, while dealing with the students projects. They show no interest in learning things. All they want is the "finished" project and documentation.
     
  19. niharjhatn

    niharjhatn Regular Member

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    I think its ridiculously naive to blame this on an "indian" attitude to rote memorisation. Rote memorisation is hardly an indian only attribute - students everywhere do it. I think it is a multifactorial problem:


    1. Indian parents want to declare their son/daughter as an engineer/IT professional etc. and hence are willing to send them and pay for substandard education at crappy institutions. This compounds the issue as declared above by TheLord as the kids have no interest in what they are doing, are only in it because of their parents and/or money.


    2. Improper emphasis of unis on oral presentations etc.


    3. Graduates applying for jobs not appropriate for them/applying for jobs they have not been adequately trained in (ties in with 2). Don't you think it is ridiculous that college graduates are applying for work in a call centre?


    However, seeing how competitive the graduates of top universities are, I don't think this is an issue that is irrepairable. Better management of new colleges being set up in the country, and a more realistic outlook by tertiary education applicants will help fix the problem.
     
  20. Energon

    Energon DFI stars Stars and Ambassadors

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    SATA could you please elaborate upon this? Particularly when you say the "import of imparting education"... are you referring to Westernized education? And if so, does this point tie in with the pointlessness of evaluating Indian students who are at a disadvantaged given that their medium of education is a foreign language? And lastly, what comprises a holistic education (in addition to the material relevant to 'industrialism'?

    I think it's fair to presume that the chance of any sort of employment is higher for a candidate who is at least armed with an engineering degree (half assed as it may be) compared to someone who isn't.

    The incompetence of the Indian government when it comes to organization and monitoring is an established fact. Everything from education to flying passenger aircrafts remain poorly monitored. Furthermore the concept of regulation in India is synonymous with corruption which ironically results in the deterioration of the entity requiring the monitoring in the first place.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011
  21. Energon

    Energon DFI stars Stars and Ambassadors

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    I don't think the exclusivity this particular attribute has any bearing upon the argument. The assignment of the blame is correct.

    I disagree with these points, oral presentations and other forms of communication are extremely important in the development of a college student. It is the content and execution of oral presentations that is the problem (as clearly evinced by the accounts of the article). Graduates being forced into underemployment is the outcome of poor education, not the cause.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011

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