Should Employers Give Training for Skills that had to be Learnt in School/College?

There was a time when some companies hiring fresh graduates, provided training in specific fields after hiring them. Now-a-days, it has become quite common for most fresh graduates to expect training once they get placed into a company. But, is it the duty of an employer to train the new employees? If yes, what is the purpose of a college? A student should be prepared by colleges or universities to take responsibility soon after they come out of the college.

A student after completion of MBBS and House Surgeon will be able to correctly treat a patient independently. A person after completion of pilot training can easily guide an aircraft. A person after completion of training in NDA (National Defense Academy) will be able to lead 14 experienced soldiers. If all these persons are able to take responsibility right after the completion of their graduation, why not a regular graduate? Why do they again require training from a company to take responsibility? It is easy to see that the colleges are not building proper skills, attitudes and knowledge in them to handle responsibilities at workplace.

Before ’90s, India aimed at self-sufficiency and was disconnected from the world’s economy. At that time, when Indians started to get involved in outsourcing or modern industries, the universities’ curriculum and facilities were outdated. It was not possible to train students for the suddenly changed working environment. So, the companies used to train their employees in specific fields they require. But today, colleges have had 2 decades to become aware of the industry, there are vastly upgraded infrastructural facilities and the curriculum is also updated. So the educational institutions can easily coach the students to be ready for the job without the employer providing training.

Colleges are not delivering their duties
Students require several skills, good attitudes and some practical knowledge in order to perform at basic level at work. But, our colleges and universities are unsuccessful in delivering graduates with such abilities. Not surprisingly, students are completing their degree but without having the ability to perform to be helpful to an organization. Employers are noticing it and are not satisfied. According to a report by NASSCOM, about 90 percent of new graduates in India are ‘non-employable’. Employers are complaining that graduates of four year courses are lacking the writing and analytical skills, which are essential to succeed at workplace. If this continues, it will have serious consequences on our country’s competitiveness and innovation.

A person can get several bye-products from higher education like professional contacts, personal exposure, and friendships. Most of the students feel these things as the most important part of the college experience. But, they are not the main purpose of colleges and universities. The actual purpose is learning, building skills and an opportunity to practice without fear of failure or causing harm to others.

Are the students gaining the knowledge and skills, which are required to perform well to sustain and contribute to progress that the country is making? Parents and media assess institutions’ prestige and reputation, but have not assessed what the students actually need to learn in these institutes. Parents and students should seek information regarding the impact of the college on increasing the students’ ability to perform in their jobs, not just the perception and glamour of the college. High fees, good buildings and perception are not satisfactory predictors of whether the students will be developed to ensure a sustainable career matching up to long-term performance expectations of good employers.

Learning cycling on highway
If a person learns all theoretical lessons of cycling, but if there is no practice, it is useless. Learning cycling on a busy highway is ridiculous when Lorries are zipping past at high speed. This example signifies that students should get ready for job (application of studied information) while pursuing degree itself. This preparation in college helps in handling basic responsibilities at workplace with ease.

Expecting harvest without doing ground work
Imagine an academic institution training people to learn farming. If a person starts at age 5 in such a college and continues learning farming till 21 years. As part of the syllabus, daily this person is systematically trained in the various areas of farming. This is training continued full time for 16 years from morning 9 to 3 i.e., 5 hours a day plus some assignments to take home.

After completing 16 years of training, if the person is finally given his first work assignment (project), 5 acres of land and asked to till the land, get it ready for a crop, sow the seeds, take care of the crop and reap the harvest. If the person does not have either the farming skills, the fitness, the commitment or the hard working nature, the knowledge of farming, ability to detect and resolve common issues/problems, how can this person expect to harvest the crop (a steady salary).

Most college faculty is unfit for any other real jobs
A college lecturer is like someone teaching how to do farming. But, he himself has never done it. He only has read some books and understood it and evaluated answers to questions in his exam. So, this teacher has no ability to give practical guidance to his students. Most lecturers opt for this because it is an easy life. Imagine working 9 to 3 and you just teach the same thing for 10 to 20 years with little changes and with lot of holidays in the middle for every possible occasion. Then a minor vacation in winter and 2 months break in summer. There may be no other job that will give this few hours of work daily along with so much vacation time.

Importance of net practice
College is like net practice in cricket. You do hours of practice as batsmen, warm up exercises, fielding, catching practice, bowling and batting practice. You practice in order to improve your abilities. Once you go into the match, every mistake has negative consequences. Some are suicidal. If you get bowled, give a catch – you cannot stay and bat, the game is over. Similarly, if you get hit for 2 sixes or 3 boundaries, you may not be given a chance to bowl again. If you drop a catch or misfield, the spectators will laugh at you and make you feel miserable.

In order to perform well and long in the match, you need to practice hard in the nets. However, today net practice is treated as fun (in college). So when you come out, you have a difficulty finding a job or performing in the job (hence, you may not hold on to the job).

So, colleges and universities should ensure rigorous standards in education as an essential priority. They should focus on preparing students for performing well in industry leveraging the facilities available today to improve the employability of students, so that the companies need not rework on students to make them employable.

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