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Transforming Education critical to meet the skilled workforce in 4th Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0)

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Transforming Education critical to meet the skilled workforce in 4th Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0)

December 17, 2019 by Kishore Jagtap

Global leaders today are facing the pressures of preparing their businesses and workforces for this new era, with the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) re-shaping how the world lives and works.

The skills challenge becomes clearer, but so do differences between executives and their millennial workforces. The breadth of the skills gap is more evident to leaders compared with last year, as is a sobering awareness that the current education system will be inadequate to meet the challenge.

  1. In 2018, most leaders (86 percent) thought their organizations were doing everything they could to create a workforce for Industry 4.0.
  2. In 2019, as more recognize the growing skills gap, only 47 percent are as confident in their efforts.

On the bright side, nearly twice as many leaders indicated that their organizations will strive to train existing employees rather than look to hire new ones. There is more optimism than last year that autonomous tech will augment, rather than replace, humans. Recent research from Deloitte’s annual Millennial Survey 2018 suggests that leaders and employees (particularly younger ones) differ on which skills are most needed and who is responsible for developing them.

  1. While Indian executives are less confident about knowing which skill sets their workforce will need in the future (India 53 per cent, global 63 per cent), they are working to be more prepared.
  2. Nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) Indian executives say they will extensively train their current employees, compared to only 43 per cent globally, and 55 per cent say they are doing everything they can to create a workforce for Industry 4.0 versus 47 per cent of global executives.
  3. When it comes to preparing the workforce for Industry 4.0, Indian leaders are just as challenged as their global counterparts by the mismatch between current skill sets and those needed for the future (India 55 per cent, global 55 per cent).
  4. They foresee attracting talent as far less of a challenge (India 39 per cent, global 48 per cent) than retaining talent with the necessary skills (India 52 per cent, global 46 per cent).

( source: Deloitte survey 2019)

Let’s closely look at the higher education status in India.

The recently released AISHE (All India survey of higher education-GOI)2018-19 report affirms India’s rapid progression towards higher enrolment and inclusion.

  1. The number of registered HE ( Higher Education) institutions has risen from 49,964 in 2017-18 to 51,649 in 2018-19. AISHE ( All India Survey of Higher Education) estimates the eligible 18-23-year-old population was 14.2 crore in 2018-19.
  2. FICCI’s Higher Education report indicates GER ( Gross Enrolment Ratio)could rise to 50 by 2030. Today, GER of 50 indicates a potential capacity of ~1,375 students/institution. Instead, because GER is only 26.3, average enrolment is 693/college.

India has  now adequate base infrastructure for rapid brownfield expansion. The need of the hour is to expand and enhance existing institutions and improve quality of education and GER. This requires leadership at the school / colleges / institutions  to take lead and see public/ private education system are evolving with the pace of technology and produce workforce of the future.

Leaders should see educational institutions introduce more group-based and project-based activities and  give early exposure to Industry 4.0 technologies in high school and college.

This is easier said than done and requires huge transformation if any success is to be envisaged.

Here I would like to quote Benjamin Franklin, the American statesman and polymath- “As the world becomes more complicated and perilous ( especially true in Indian context today), the need to transform education and create Institutions, schools/ colleges for people has never been more urgent”.

Franklin once said that there are three sorts of people in the world: those who are immovable, those who are movable, and those who move.

We know what he meant. Some people don’t see the need for change and don’t want to. They squat like boulders in a stream while the flow of events rushes around them. Best advice is to leave them alone. Tide and time are on the side of transformation, and the currents of change may leave them behind.

There are those who are movable. They see the need for change. They may not know what to do, but they’re open to being convinced and to act if they are. Work with them and go where their energy is. Form partnerships and make dreams and plans.

And there are those who move: the change agents who can see the shape of a different future and are determined to bring it about through their own actions and by working with others. They know that they don’t always need permission.

As Mahatma Gandhi said, if you want to change the world, you must be the change you want to see. Because when enough people move, that is a movement. And if the movement has enough energy, that is a revolution. And in education, that’s exactly what we need today.

Kishore Jagtap

IIM | business strategist | brand & marketing analyst | digital marketeer | entrepreneur | cyber law enthusiast |