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India’s Skilling Fields!

The Indian Software Education Market

More from the streets of Ameerpet – the two day visit to Hyderabad opened a few new windows and offered some amazing insights into the mood prevailing in the market, the Indian job market in particular. Like the Malls in Hyderabad that were filled with shoppers who didn’t believe in postponing buying  decisions, the education business appeared to be extremely vibrant, but not all of it was kosher.

Like Nehru Place is where folks in Delhi head for when in search of Computer Hardware and (pirated) Software, Ameerpet in Hyderabad is the destination for Software Courses. But don’t ask me whether the courses offered in the sweat-shop like study centers are authorised, effective and useful. All I know is that they are there and youngsters from far corners of Andhra, and beyond, land there in droves to lap up the fare.

The sea of humanity around us were in the late teens to early 20s range. They walked about briskly, chatted, laughed, jabbed away at the laptops, tablets or smart-phones and looked determined – the future is beckoning!

As we went past, my business associate, who was also in the car drinking in this bizarre drama, quipped – “We must be the only guys in the 50s round in this neighbourhood – probably there wouldn’t be any who are even half our age!”

India is bursting at its seams, the population growing at astronomic rates, but no one is concerned – the young urban population in particular is treated as an asset – India’s top export item.

The Coastal Region of Andhra Pradesh is quite often ravaged by storms emanating from the Bay of Bengal – but it also a fertile and cash rich region and the storm currently brewing in the young heads in that region is this “I have to acquire a Degree, at least a Certificate, in Software Programming and head for that prosperous land across the seas!”. The wealthy landowners and farmers from that affluent region send their children to Hyderabad for Stage-1 of the assault on cyberspace.  The Land of Salvation for these kids is just one … America!

The smarter and academically stronger of the kids take the GRE or GMAT and get into Universities in USA and enter the job market from there – some of them go on to start their own ventures. But the next set are not far behind – they end up in one of the sweat shops in Ameerpet, acquire a Diploma or Certificate in a programming language or business application like SAP and rustle up a VISA from who-knows-where to THERE!! Agents lurk in the shadows to boost them along the right networks to Google Land or Cisco City.

There is a third set that gets into the grind of Entrance Coaching – some of the kids complete the 12th standard and then invest an entire academic year towards preparing for JEE, the Entrance Examination for admissions to the best Engineering Programs in the country – the representation of Andhra Pradesh in the IITs has been consistently high in recent times. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are the other states that have such intensive programs that fast-track students to in Engineering or Medicine.

It seems India is learning enmasse to capture the best jobs the world has to offer and this is good news for the profiteers. The lure of lucre is fueling the Education Business. The courses are run by savvy businessmen, not subject matter experts  – for them education is a by-product of the process. There are few or no standards and the authorities seem to be looking the other way (with a palm discreetly kept open behind the back for their “cut”). The quality of the courses offered by most institutes is suspect and in many instances the certificates are not even worth the paper it is printed on. The students find their way across despite the deficiency in skill and could become the cause of a lot of hair-loss for their employers.

Soft Skills and Language Skills are alien or unsavory terms for most products of these institutes – they just want to get a job somehow; doing the job the right way, communicating effectively, working in teams and delivering the right results are not major concerns.

India is preparing people for careers, but not the right way it seems – the Skills market is wide open for exploiting!

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  1. Jamy
    November 24, 2012 at 4:53 am

    Superb analysis Jay! So true!!

    • JayadevM
      November 24, 2012 at 7:23 am

      Thank you, Jamy.

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