The fate of fresh college graduates and job interns is getting murkier by the day. The ongoing economic slump has intensified their struggle to cope with all the resultant uncertainty. How to address this complex problem is on the minds of all, especially the political leadership and government officials. What should the policymakers and other stakeholders do as they remain bewildered about the magnitude of this crisis? As per various sources like ILO and WEF reports, there are over sixty-five million graduates in-waiting for jobs, and the batch of 2020 is in the queue. What immediate measures need to be in place to tackle this whilst the economic turnaround takes its due course to create new jobs.
The long-term reforms in the education system that are underway will ease this issue; However, the focus is to calm the current influx in the job market and to take decisive and transformative steps to address this issue.
It is indeed a litmus test for all the stakeholders. The governments, businesses and educational institutions have to act fast, evolve and rise, especially the role of governments is pivotal in this hour. They must transcend beyond political posturing and bipartisan politics. These got to bring changes in policymaking, inject funding and promote public-private partnerships that are the critical need of the hour. In tandem, the educational institutions have a very crucial role to play. These have to revolutionize their academic ecosystem to meet the evolving needs of the modern-day workplace. I understand there is work underway in this context, however current job woes are assuming dangerous proportions and more concerted action is needed. The corporates too have to go an extra mile with ways to sustain, retain and create jobs by joining hands with shared goals.
Above all, educational institutions have a responsibility to evolve their models to confront multiple challenges from the generational shift to technology disruption. The growing workplace needs and economics is demanding seamless integration of these interns at no additional cost. These issues have been on the agenda for some time, but the post-covid-19 job woes have aggravated the situation. It is a mayday call for change. How to ensure work readiness for in-waiting graduates and job hopefuls is the moot point to delve. Universities have to transform curriculums to ensure graduates are future-ready with least training needs as corporates don’t have the cost bandwidth to support this as well as resources. For instance, course curriculums have to comprehend with the continuous changes in the subject matter, technology and transformation that is impacting the workplace needs. Academicians have to overhaul the course curriculums encompassing every aspect that eventually compliments the knowledge in their workplace integration. At the same time, learning delivery will have to be made compatible to ensure practical orientation. Both, faculties and education infrastructure will also need a facelift. The quality of faculty and their teaching methodologies also needs to evolve. The fast pace for workplace transformation has not reflected in the current Education Management Systems. The academic community must admit these woes and must move on as it requires dynamic and quick fixes. It needs coordinated and express actions whilst planning for medium and long-term basis.
It is also time for the corporate world to become generous in their pledge of transforming college education to ease their employment woes. Companies have to co-sponsor projects and incubation environments between universities and field projects to bridge the learning gaps. Not just placement calls but also build sponsored short to medium term dissertation projects and multiple initiatives to support this global issue. Economics must not dissuade them from their sustainability responsibility as there are definite windfall benefits if implemented correctly.