Higher education as a catalyst for employment in the post-pandemic world


Just a few months ago, in May 2021, India’s unemployment rate following the pandemic hit a dangerous 11.8%. This data point released by CMIE reflects closures and downsizing that have affected various segments of the industry.

Today’s image is very different. With an unemployment rate of 7.92%, the situation has really started to change. We are seeing strong fundamentals growth in various segments of the industry, from FMCG, IT and telecommunications to retail and autos.

Urban unemployment stands at 7.5% and rural unemployment now stands at 8.1%, which is a huge change from what we were in May 2021, when urban unemployment stood at 14.72% while rural unemployment stood at 10.55%. The same metrics have undergone a significant change from September 2021.

This is also reflected in the numbers we see in terms of talent demand released as part of the Times Jobs RecruiteX report for September 2021. Talent demand grew 22% in FMCG, 20% in IT and 18% in retail. . This reflects the sentiment that now shapes the future of the nation.

The question to ask is “what made this happen?”

When times are dark, the only light that can save humanity is that of knowledge fueled by high quality education. It is from this angle that we must look at the entire phase in which the pandemic sought to shake the very foundations of civilizations. It is those with knowledge and skills who have joined with the rest of the world to initiate the healing process. From our frontline warriors and researchers to policymakers and various regulators, everyone has been instrumental in rekindling the fires of growth and jobs.

Today, a growing number of Indians understand the value of higher education and its role in providing better employment opportunities and a comfortable lifestyle. The willingness to invest in their higher education to boost employability and become valuable contributors to the Indian economy is now stronger than ever. From personal development and a sense of accomplishment to economic benefits and achieving their ambitions, people are realizing that improving their skills and abilities is the only gap in an ever-changing world.

India has suffered massive disruption due to several factors:

  1. Technological advancements and digitization which have led to new segments or opportunities in the industry
  2. The Gen Z workforce and changes in consumer segments, needs and wants.

Naturally, the change has also been reflected in the education sector, especially higher education which is undergoing significant changes.

The changes in higher education are manifold and reflect the changing career environment as well as the demands of industry. The secular trend is now towards skills and capabilities rather than just institutes and degrees. This is reflected in how the EdTech space has seen massive investment. With more than $ 3.8 billion in investments made in the EdTech space between January 2020 and August 2021 itself, the future of education and, more specifically, higher education as a catalyst for jobs, careers, dreams and ambitions look extremely promising.

Some of India’s largest employers choose to hire using the power of technology focusing on skills using their own online testing. New Age cohort-based courses, which are shorter, cheaper and help people acquire the skills they need to find jobs, are growing like never before. With the employment related programs in the industry, it is clear that the era of results-based online learning is here to stay.

Technology has opened its doors to new career opportunities and there is a great demand for jobs that can help individuals take their place. Now we have developers and engineers who come from small towns and create businesses and jobs not only in big cities but also in small towns, as tech education allows them to harness the power of the web to do it. In other words, technology is the engine of many of the new jobs and also the reason why some jobs will no longer be needed. Artificial intelligence, big data, marketing, engineering, human resources, analytics and everything related to the job market have changed forever.

In today’s competitive job market, employers are looking for highly skilled people suited to a rapidly changing world driven by technology and automation. In fact, organizations encourage their existing employees (and in some cases even funders) to upgrade their skills to survive in the business world. Therefore, there is a constant need to stay relevant by expanding and improving your skills.

With the implementation of NEP 2020, individuals will be able to access high-quality learning from top-rated colleges and universities from home. Therefore, a diploma or certification course through an e-learning platform and thus get a job or a job or even start their own business is now a possibility. This is the real transformative power of higher education driven by technology.

The role of Ed-tech in increasing employment

India has over 4,500 Ed-tech start-ups that help over 300 million students and an additional 40 million students in higher education, thanks to the 749 million user base of India. Internet in 2020.

Electronics tech companies, which suddenly appeared in large numbers during the pandemic, are contributing to India’s growth by bridging the urban divide. These companies help aspiring young people from different parts of the country to realize their dreams of working in companies. They not only provide 100% internships and jobs, but also partner with industry experts, executives and recruiters to train and assess students. Thus, e-learning paves the way for an inclusive world, beyond the elitist and exclusivist notion, where the quality of education has a price and is not accessible to all.

According to IBEF data, Indian higher education is expected to grow by 38% within 2 to 4 years.

India’s Gross Enrollment Rate (GER) has increased from 26.3% to 27.1% in the past year and with NEP2020 the goal is to accelerate this process. This change will have technology as a catalyst and boost employment in all sectors, geographies and social strata, as access to high quality higher education will now be possible for everyone with greater inclusion and eventual results. related to higher education.

It is estimated that by 2030 Indian higher education will incorporate training methods that include e-learning through games.

Under the new hybrid model, universities are moving beyond traditional case studies (gamified case studies keep young aspirants engaged) and embrace contextual learning. Ed-Tech companies are finally exploiting technologies such as AI, 5G, IoT and blockchain, which are supposed to popularize and develop rapidly.

Government policies are in place, finally

Home to around 1,000 universities and 40,000 colleges, India has the largest higher education system in the world. In addition, the recent National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 integrates the Indian and international higher education system, making it promising and progressive. Endorsing higher education for all, NEP 2020 aims to make India a global destination for higher education, providing quality education at low cost. Add to that the burgeoning global movement towards e-learning that continues to make Ed-tech more mainstream.

It is not without reason that there is a growing sense of optimism. The Institutes of national importance have grown from 75 in 2015 to 135 in 2020 according to the AISHE 2019-20 report and this change also reflects the growing penetration of higher education. This, coupled with skills-based and results-based hiring by employers and complemented by specialist skills development fueled by certifications, will help create a new India in the post-pandemic era.

The impact of AI and disruptive technologies

While on the one hand, jobs that were once popular and flourishing are now obsolete or considered mundane, there are new and emerging job opportunities in the Web3.0 world and in AI and VR and in the world. space for emerging technologies. In light of the shift towards technology becoming more and more integral to our lives, making an informed choice is crucial if you want a degree that leads to a good job and a well-paying career. New specializations are emerging in all fields and while engineering and technology skills are vital, skills in digital marketing, analysis, human capital management and all things art and design are. also.

As on the jobs side, technologies change various paradigms, AI and ML are enabling hyper-personalization of learning by pushing the right content, at the right stage, to learners, thus stimulating better learning and skills. , which make a more attractive candidate for an employer.

Supported by policy changes and technological advancements, it is safe to say that higher education is likely to expand and boost employment as it continues to become skills-oriented, inclusive and skills-based. the results.

As we enter the golden age of higher education supported by education technology companies and progressive policies, it is important that everyone realizes that education is the right of every individual, regardless of geography, gender, economic status and stature in society, to build a better society and a better world – together.



The opinions expressed above are those of the author.


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