The Permanent Effect of Recession: Be Skill Ready or Perish

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Recession came with a bang crippling and terrorising economies across the world leading to widespread unemployment, loss of capital and bankruptcy of major financial institutions. That was in 2008-09. But now as recession takes a back seat and economies start to re-build, is it all really over? Probably yes if one were to believe the economic pundits and take cues from the market indexes. However in one field recession has had a telling impact which may be here to stay forever. It is on how corporate firms from hereon choose to hire their talent.

Before recession started getting a job for fresher’s and graduates was not much of a problem. Companies would hire suitable candidates, train them for a few months costing thousands and if found to be productive would hire them on a permanent basis. But things have changed now post the economic slump. As companies do not want to have to deal with another recession they have become extra cautious and are trying to save up much needed finances for any eventuality in future. This has brought about many reforms out of which the notable one is cutting down on training expenses. Though hiring across all industries has begun to fill in the posts lying vacant since recession, the companies are extra careful on whom they hire. Three important factors governing hiring are work experience, communication skills and the presence of specific skill sets needed in the industry concerned. Theoretical knowledge no longer rules the day. In fact these criteria serve well for companies too. They can hire a person who is productive from the first day itself and hence cut down on training expenditure. However one look at regular colleges across India and you will see that in reality most of them have not yet woken up to this demand from the market. Promises galore in prospectus but simply put, either they are not carried out or just put as one month internships which really do not count. Also students in regular colleges hardly find the time to work full time since colleges won’t allow them to do so and attendance percentage rules supreme. Its thus of extreme relief to find one institution to have deviated from the herd and in doing so has captured the attention of not just students but corporate firms and even the government of the country. It is Sikkim Manipal University Distance Education (SMU-DE).

Slow to kick off at first thanks mainly to unrealistic biases against education through distance learning as well as its practical approach, SMU-DE has come a long way. Today it boasts of a student base exceeding 3 lakhs, has one of the largest connectivity through university recognised Learning Centres (LC’s) in the country and is a pioneer in merging technology with education which is named EduNxt. SMU is UGC and Government of India recognised offering courses in more than 10 disciplines through a network of more than 700 LCs based in 310 towns across the country. It is relatively less expensive as compared to fees charged by regular colleges, has faculty from the industry and involves studying at one’s own time and pace made possible by the internet based learning platform EduNxt, jointly developed with Microsoft USA. The main USP of the university: It encourages its students to work while they learn and the syllabus is geared towards imbibing soft skills and practical training as required in every field. It’s thus no surprise then to find that SMU-DE students get hired mostly even before they have completed their courses. Working people can also avail the courses and increase their skills thereby widening their career scope and enhancing growth. SMU-DE is credited with having brought about the much needed change our education system needed after years of stressful importance on just theory and text books. It’s indeed a refreshing change and a vital one for a corporate society. Only time will tell how other institutions fare for the leader has already etched the path ahead. It’s now for others to either follow or die a gradual death.

SMUDE (talk)22:18, 20 July 2010