How employable is the South-Asian graduate?

Thursday, 9 January 2014

The British Council releases a report at the Global Education Dialogue in Mumbai. 

Brings together industry and academia to discuss paradigms and challenges in Higher Education and Employability in South-Asia 

The British Council, UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunitiesorganised the fourth Global Education Dialogue on Higher Education and Employability: A New Paradigm, A New Challenge as part of its South Asia Series, on9 and 10 January, 2014 in Mumbai.

Centered on the findings of British Council research commissioned through The Economist Intelligence Unit on the South Asia Paradox of “High university enrolment, low graduate employment”, the discussion highlighted how industry and higher education could collaborate to create supportive policy infrastructure to enhance employability in graduates to meet the fast-growing needs of South Asian economies.

Regular revision of curriculum based on market needs, investment in training teachers, stronger accreditation frameworks, regulation and monitoring are some of the recommendations of the Report.   Despite increasing opportunities for higher education, levels of unemployment remain high among recent graduates.  A study of 40,000 technical graduates in India found that in high growth sectors such as business process outsourcing (BPO), employability was only 38.2 %. Scenarios such as this indicate a disconnect between industry expectations and what higher education institutions offer and require innovative approaches to skill development. Report findings reiterate low quality of education, lack of focus on developing English language and soft skills as some of the causes for this gap.  The Report also recommends compulsory internships and mechanisms to facilitate transition between classroom and workplace - more focus on case studies, presentations and analytical assignments and less importance on ‘final exams’ and rote-learning were some of the other approaches needed for skill development.

Speaking on the occasion, Rob Lynes, Director, India, British Council, said “Workforce capability is of strategic importance to social mobility, growth and economic progress. Globally, ‘employability’ has become a key benchmark to rate the success of higher education institutions. The Global Education Dialogue is the perfect platform for diverse stakeholders to discuss critical issues, share innovative practices, and create a roadmap that will help universities prepare graduates for opportunities in an increasingly globalised world.”

Deliberations and work-group discussions between senior policy makers, vice chancellors, employers, national agencies, learners and educational visionaries from across UK, Asia and the Middle East, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Afghanistan sought holistic solutions to develop action plans to meet specific challenges.

The Global Education Dialogue concluded with a fresh look at approaches to knowledge acquisitions, paved the way for developing relationships between diverse stakeholders – governments, businesses, students and universities – across South Asia. 

Notes to Editor

The British Council report on High university enrolment, low graduate employment released at the Global Education Dialogue in Mumbai is available in the download section at the end of this page.

What is the British Council’s Global Education Dialogue? 

A Global Education Dialogue brings together key policy-makers and influencers so that they can reflect on and debate the challenges and opportunities facing international higher education. It is a facilitated dialogue between governments, universities and industry with contributions and fresh perspectives from our network of leading thinkers. Each event therefore provides space and time for participants to explore the shifting international higher education landscape - with its rapidly changing expectations and responsibilities - so that they are better equipped to play their role in the future-proofing of higher education in their countries.

The South Asia Series provides a six-part programme of dialogues to frame the debate on the issues affecting higher education in South Asia and the UK. Each Policy Dialogue features the latest thinking in its area with new research and input from government and industry leaders. Papers and research from the policy dialogue will be published so that they can contribute to evidence-led policy developments. Each of the six events in the South Asia Series has participants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the UAE and the UK. Some specific Policy Dialogues also have participants from China, Egypt, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Jordan and Malaysia. For details on the series click here.

Issued by Renuka Reuben
, Senior Manager Marketing & Communications West India
British Council Division, British Deputy High Commission
901, Tower 1, One Indiabulls Centre,  841 Senapati Bapat Marg,
Elphinstone Road (West), Mumbai 400 013 
T: +91-22-67486731 M: +91 98208 43608

About the British Council

The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. We are a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. Our 7,000 staff in over 100 countries work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, Arts, Education and Society programmes. Click here for details of our work in India.