Kochi | Noting that quality of higher education in the country ‘leaves much to be desired’, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said there was a ‘mismatch’ between supply and demand of skilled manpower, India’s USP.
A disconcerting aspect of our education system is the mismatch between supply and demand of skilled manpower, he said while inaugurating the Excellence for Social Transformation Lecture series in memory of Fr Kuriakose Elias Chavara, who was recently declared as Saint by the Vatican along with Sister Euprahasia Eluvinthinkal, also from Kerala.
Already a large proportion of India’s 4,00,000 annual technology graduates and its 2.5 million general college graduates were unable to find work. Paradoxically, this was not due to lack of jobs. According to the National Association of Software and Service companies (NASCOM), it is due to lack of requisite skills, Singh said addressing students and faculty of the Sacred Hearts college at nearby Thevara, where he also laid the foundation stone of a new block.
With 62 per cent of the country’s population in the working age group, the demand for educational opportunities will increase in the next three decades. This feature combined with the growing services sector within the country would require highly qualified human resource. Needless to stress, the quality of higher education which is crucial, leaves much to be desired, he said.
Pointing that India was ‘fast catching up’ with the knowledge sectors of several top countries and biggest multinational companies were not only opening their backroom offices, but also their R&D centres in the country, Singh said this trend was being noticed not only in software development, but also in sectors including finance, medical and bio-tech.
As India grows into a knowledge providing superpower, a host of facilities will need to be provided in terms of ensuring a steady supply of quality knowledge workers with the requisite qualifications and world class infrastructure.
It is important that we do not allow the present advantage to slip away. Our unique selling point is the pool of skilled manpower, which we need to nurture consistently in order to maintain our competitive edge, he said.
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