WATCH: Reskilling and upskilling cannot happen in a classroom, says Raghav Gupta of Coursera
India sees thousands of students graduate from engineering colleges every year, but very few are trained in the skills that employers actually need. More than 12 million students graduate every year, and 1.2 million of these are engineers.
According to a March 2019 report by employability assessment company Aspiring Minds, over 80 percent of these engineering graduates are “unemployable for any job in the knowledge economy”. The report was based on research conducted in India, China, and the US.
The reasons could be many: theoretical teaching in colleges; lack of technical, cognitive, and linguistic skills; dearth of skills to work in new-age jobs, and the absence of proper internships. However, the proliferation of edtech platforms is slowly bridging the gap of availability of skilled talent.
The many online learning platforms include Mountain View, California-based Coursera, which sees India as its second largest market after the US.
“Unfortunately, gross enrolment in higher education in India is not very good. According to government statistics, 25 percent children enrol for higher education,” says Raghav Gupta, Director, India and APAC, Coursera.
But with technology changing the way the world works and this gig economy here to stay, it’s imperative for India to ensure that students and graduates have the right skills, and for the workforce to stay up to speed with modern tools and techniques.
In a candid interview with YourStory, Raghav Gupta discusses how Indians are learning, why reskilling is important to stay relevant, and why AI and Blockchain courses are popular.
“Reskilling and upskilling cannot happen in a classroom. Scaling up education only happens digitally,” Raghav says, adding that lifelong learning is the “key”.
One of the most popular courses on Coursera today is data science, which teaches how to mine, analyse, and use data in creative ways to generate business value. Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain are no longer buzzwords, and the platform is also working on training students in these modern technologies. Founder Andrew NG teaches students about AI and technology experts like Don Tapscott teach Blockchain.
Globally, the company works with 1,800 companies that are part of the Coursera platform. In India, it works with 50 companies, including Axis Bank, Yes Bank, Infosys, Wipro, Airtel, and Tata Communications. It is also working with the Andhra Pradesh Skill Development Corporation to skill 5,000 students, and with 150 colleges in the State. The online education platform has also tied up with Manipal University.
At present, India has 800 universities, 40,000 colleges, and 30 million students attending college. A KPMG-Google report released in May 2017 said the online higher education market is expected to touch $1.96 billion by 2021. Reskilling and online certification courses currently account for a majority (38 percent) of the online higher education market, the report added.
There are plenty of startups working to help professionals remain relevant in their industry, including AEON Learning, Udemy, Edureka, Udacity, and SimpliLearn.
Coursera believes that it is only by reskilling that several Indians can join industries like banking and telecom, which are going digital as they traverse into the future. Across the world, 100 million people have upskilled on the platform. And Coursera is keen to ride this online learning wave in India as well.