Navigating Industry-Academia

Deceptive practices are a troubling reality in today’s education landscape. A major cause of this is the persistent gap between industry needs and academic preparation.

The National Employability Report 2021 shows that only 45.9% of engineering graduates are employable. 

This reveals the width of the gap between industry requirements and the skill set possessed by the graduates. So, the graduates get trapped and deceived by fake schemes in desperation to find a job.

But what is the reason behind this academia-industry gap? What should you be doing as a student? How can you insulate yourself from fake companies? Let us elaborate.

What Causes the Industry-Academia Gap?

As the CEO and Founder of CodeQuotient School of Technology, I believe these are some key reasons responsible for the gap:

1. Lack of focus on practical applications

A common problem with academia is that it lacks a focus on problem-solving and practical applications. It follows a theory-heavy approach, and students are primarily taught through rote memorisation.

So, graduates find solving problems in real-world industry settings difficult without hands-on training.

2. Rigid curriculum

Often, the curriculum is rigid and not updated to match the evolving industry standards. Given the exponential pace of evolution happening in all domains, it gets difficult for graduates to keep up with the latest trends.

3. Not involving industry experts

Academic programmes are generally prepared and delivered by faculties who do not have industry exposure. This is a major reason for the disconnect that persists between academia and industry.

As a result, the graduates are not prepared to meet the dynamic needs of the workplace.

So, How to Bridge the Industry-Academia Gap?

I think harmonious efforts from all quarters and stakeholders are required to bridge the gap gradually. Here are some suggestions that may help:

Tips for Academia 

1. Align curriculum with industry needs

The academia must re-align the curriculum with the industry’s needs. They must update the curriculum and incorporate industry-relevant skills and the latest technological aspects into the pedagogy. The content must be updated regularly based on industry input and feedback. Industry experts must

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2. Emphasise hands-on training

The academia must also emphasise practical education and hands-on training as a part of the pedagogy. Academic institutions must collaborate with industry and offer a platform for students to work on real-time problems.

3. Prioritise practical assessments 

Assessments are pivotal in bridging the academia-industry gap, helping students shift their learning focus and prioritisation.

Rigorous assessment methods help shift the focus from rote learning to enhancing student’s practical skills. Academia must use industry case studies, presentations, and simulations to assess student’s problem-solving and critical-thinking abilities.

Tips for Students   

1. Network with industry professionals

Building relationships with industry professionals helps widen students’ exposure to real-time industry requirements. They can provide valuable inputs on evolving industry trends and insights on how you can apply your theoretical knowledge in real time. It also offers an opportunity to collaborate with them further.

2. Cultivate a continuous learning mindset  

In my observation, students tend to focus mostly on short-term goals and scoring good marks. They fail to prioritise industry experience and problem-solving and instead focus on rote memorisation.

Instead, students should develop a continuous learning mindset and focus on long-term goals. To be relevant in the field, you must be curious and seek practical learning experiences.

3. Apply for industry-relevant training courses

Students must supplement their academic learning with courses and workshops about their industry. There are many such courses, and you must choose ones that are relevant and in demand in your target domain.

As the curriculum offered by training institutes is more flexible and updatable than academia, you gain exposure to the emerging trends and latest technologies.

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How Do You Choose the Right Training Course and Protect Yourself From Fake Ones?

While opting for industry-specific courses may help upgrade your skills and competencies, choosing the right ones matters the most.

Students desperately need a job, and some institutes capitalise on their fear. So, you must protect yourself from such courses and pick the right ones.

Let me give you some tips for you to get there:

1. Explore course objectives

Before applying to a training course, evaluate their offerings and objectives. Check for the course description, prerequisites, and industry background before opting for one.

Review their website and brochure to understand the course objectives. Then, evaluate whether it can increase your industry exposure.

2. Check for reviews and testimonials

Before enrolling in a training course, check for their reviews on Google and online platforms. Check for testimonials from past participants to understand the effectiveness and relevance of the course.

Explore specific feedback on the course content, facilitator, and overall experience.

3. Review instructor credentials

The expertise and qualification of the course facilitator significantly impact the student‚Äôs learning experience. Evaluate the instructor’s academic qualifications and industry-relevant experience before you enrol in a course.

4. Check for alumni network

Evaluate if the course provider has an official alumni network or listings on social media platforms like LinkedIn. You should also reach out to alumni, engage in discussions on the impact of the course, and evaluate potential career outcomes.

5. Ask more questions 

Ask detailed questions based on the information you collect from websites, brochures, alumni, reviews, etc. Do not hesitate to contact the course coordinator or facilitator to get your questions answered.

Beyond getting deeper insights, you can also evaluate how approachable, accessible, and genuine they are.

6. Compare the cost with the value

Compare the total cost of the course with the value offerings and check if the benefits outweigh the cost.

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While calculating the cost, check for the hidden costs and add the cost of all components, including course fees, resources, materials, etc.

7. Read the terms and conditions thoroughly

There are a lot of courses that offer fake promises in their campaigns and ad materials to capitalise on students’ fear. Before you choose a course, check the terms, fee structure, refund policies, job guarantees, etc.

Closing Thought

In India, the industry-academia gap is a complex problem. Bridging this requires strenuous efforts from multiple stakeholders, including academia, students, industry, policymakers, etc.

Academia must focus on imparting practical experience and hands-on training while prioritising rigorous assessment methods. It should also take industry feedback in curriculum and course design.

On the other hand, students can also choose industry mentorship programmes and relevant courses to enhance their industry readiness and employability. However, they must be cautious of some learning platforms that offer fake job guarantees and schemes to capitalise on their fear and desperation.

So, they must evaluate the terms, course objectives, instructor credentials, etc., before choosing the right one.

A concerted effort from all the stakeholders can help us progress further and make India the ‚ÄėTalent Capital‚Äô of the world.

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