Today’s Mint carried an article “Blame it on the system” which was a review of New York Times article “An Open Letter to India’s Graduating Classes“. Both articles are an interesting read and a must for parents+students. While India “produces” a huge number of graduates a very small percentage of these are employable. Many get rejected for academic reasons but majority get rejected for not having the “other essential skills”.
The author Mohit Chandra highlights on the five must skills graduates must have (but I think these are the skills we need to improve continuously irrespective of how experienced you are),
- Poor communication skills
- Poor problem solving
- Low engagement, never ask questions
- Improve yourself with continuous learnings
- Lack of Professionalism
As an entrepreneur, father I deal with these on a daily basis.
- One of the reasons for poor communication skills is the language – English is not the first language for majority of India. But in today’s world if one is interested it is not difficult to improve the written and spoken communication skills – I must say we should have these skills in non-English languages too.The development of these skills come from home and school. Not sure how many of our teachers can be role models when it comes to communication skills.In schools I feel our communication skills don’t improve because only the best get the opportunity to showcase their skills. The rest are left behind and don’t speak up because of fear, I will not hesitate to say I was one of them.
- Isn’t our education system about ‘beating the system’ and not how to learn or really understand the problem? Every student is interested in scoring high marks. I constantly tell my daughter that I really don’t care about her marks (I don’t want her to fail though) but I want her to understand and ‘relish’ the subject.We at Oneindia give simple problem solving questions to programmers. You twist the question a little and the candidate goes blank like a whiteboard. We do see their marks card but don’t give much weight to it. We are more particular about their confidence, not bull shitting skills.
- Most in India see asking questions can be seen as an offence. That is true in our political parties for sure. I luckily don’t face that problem with most of the people who work with me. They keep me occupied with their questions.The most irritating thing for me is when people don’t get back. They do their job/task but don’t tell me the job is done. I tell them why are they hesitating in blowing their own trumpet?
- Investing your own money into learning new skills is a big no no. Everyone wants the employer to pay. How many students or freshers access the free online courses from Stanford, MIT, Harvard? For those who go for the courses are more keen on getting the “certificate of completion” which arms them for yet another pay hike.
- One of the most disturbing characteristics of prospective employees is lack of professionalism. When we issue an offer letter we are not sure if they will join us at all. Only when they show up on the agreed date we can assume the position has been filled.Software engineers have been notorius with taking offer letters and shopping around. We insist with those who come to us NOT to show or talk about the offer letters they have in hand. If he/she can use that trick with us, he/she will use the same trick on us.
In Bangalore few engineering colleges have introduced personality skill development courses. A good beginning but it is finally upto the student to take it forward.
Corporates, through internship can play a big role in honing the skills of students. We tried to get interns from NID, Bangalore. Three of them agreed to join us but none of them showed up. Guess we are not a big enough brand for them. I take this ‘unspoken feedback’ constructively.
Few months ago I was looking for courses in public speaking, personality skill development for my daughter. I was introduced to two of them – I wrote to both, none replied. May be it is time for these professional coaching classes to take few courses in professionalism.