With the world becoming increasingly globalized and integrated owing to the advent of technology and the wave of digitization sweeping the globe in the last two decades; the role of technical institutions in shaping and molding the careers of students enrolling with them becomes a very interesting food for thought in the next decade if the Indian educational system needs to undergo landmark changes.
The formation of Education Promotion Society of India (EPSI) and it’s stellar and catalytic role in acting as a strong interface between the government, academia and Industry in recent times needs a special mention as the central and state governments have been adhering to the recommendations of this entity in propping up their respective gross enrollment ratios or GERs. Incidentally for beginners, GER predominantly focuses on the percentage of students admitted to higher educational Institutions and is an important yardstick if technical Institutes become the true bastions of entrepreneurship in times to come.
The famous economist Joseph Schumpeter had once remarked that “an entrepreneur is someone who innovates,thinks out of the box and initiates growth with discontinuous disturbance”. He becomes a change agent who brings sweeping changes because of his revolutionary innovations and ideas. By imparting and imbibing the importance of entrepreneurship from formative years,students enrolling in higher educational Institutions can be easily molded, educated, enlightened and informed about the importance of entrepreneurship as a viable career choice.
In fact, the government in conjunction with higher technical Institutions like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) have a major responsibility for promoting the passion and fervor of entrepreneurship in higher educational institutions of repute. Doing so would provide the necessary impetus to the economic growth and development of the nation and creating job opportunities as socioeconomic inequalities would get arrested. Thus,fostering a culture of entrepreneurship would be a very key economic driver of the nation.
With approximately 28 % of India’s total population of around 1.3 billion (second only to China) aged between 10 to 24 who are either at the cusp of starting their careers or on the verge, based on data analyzed by UNFPA in 2015; there is a ready pool of of around 367 million young people which need to be provided education, guidance, support, and facilities so that this young segment, specifically the one, which has enrolled for higher educational institutions can be nurtured towards careers in entrepreneurship. In fact, a key Gallup-Hope Index finding based on Gallup Survey done in 2013 specifies that student’s entrepreneurial spirit should be engaged early so that they are prepared to start a business or invent something that changes the world.
So, in light of above, it is imperative that the role of higher educational institutions in India should not be restricted to mere domain based learning which actually has been the case with a majority of Engineering and Technology based colleges;but the students studying in these institutions should be offered with knowledge and hands-on experience in the world of Business.This would instill and imbibe in them a zeal and fervor for entrepreneurship; a necessary ingredient for creating the next bunch of passionate entrepreneurs who would transform the nation’s economic prospects in a robust and productive manner in the coming decades.
In fact, business schools also come under the ambit of higher educational institutions and are, therefore, extremely well suited to offer the necessary exposure in the area of entrepreneurship by offering practical and insightful learning through case study driven approach to learning and including more and more business oriented subjects in their curriculum and realigning the teaching pedagogies as per the changing business milieu.
The following are some of the initiatives,which all Technical Institutes should take with the long term goal of creating more and more entrepreneurs in India:
- The institutions can make changes in the curriculum and teaching pedagogies by including case studies of real life entrepreneurs, tie up with corporate for industrial projects and help the students in having a hand-son experience in the area of business through their internship connects with the industry.
- Entrepreneurship education imparted in the institutions should spell the true spirit of entrepreneurship - which is all about vision, dedication, innovation, planning, execution and taking risks.
- Students should be made understood that working in an organisation in the capacity of an employee is strategically different from becoming an entrepreneur and that the mind-set required for this transition encompasses embracing towering qualities like leadership, fierce determination, innovative focus and will to conquer new horizons.
- The institutions can embark on the creation of an entrepreneurial ecosystem which plays a crucial role in providing the necessary impetus for creating a chain of self sustainable start-ups throughout the nuke and corner of the nation. This ecosystem would include networking and collaborating with industry experts for sharing of expertise and mentoring inputs to the student fraternity in addition to the utilization of research facilities available at the institutional level.
- Last but not the least, the best way of connecting higher educational institutions with an entrepreneurship ecosystem is through the creation of an “incubator” system which essentially is about providing training, mentoring and infrastructural facilities under one roof for helping the students explore future forays in the areas of entrepreneurship. As per an eminent research data source from 2016,the nation has around 65 technology business incubators,15 science and technology entrepreneurs parks (STEPs) and around 38 entrepreneurship development Cells working very actively and being continuously supported by the central government. This, in fact, is the single biggest platform for Technology, Engineering and Management students with the right entrepreneurial mindset for realizing their dreams and aspirations with holistic support from the government of the day.
In conclusion, it can be said that though there have been wholesome efforts being undertaken both by the Central and State Governments in tandem with technical institutes across the country in offering encouragement and boost for creating a pool of “budding student entrepreneurs” through the National Policy on Skill Development and Entrepreneurship;the biggest challenge lies in the form of creating awareness about entrepreneurship as career choice among the huge student population base of India which otherwise is more fascinated with the conventional path of earning livelihood through jobs.
In addition to this, there are a very few educational Institutions of repute at a higher level which have full fledged Degree or Diploma programs tailor made for entrepreneurship while at an institutional level, the very model of creating and running “a self sustainable start up”, specifically with the aim of supporting and guiding aspiring “Student Entrepreneurs” is relatively a new concept possibly due to the fact that India’s entrepreneurial system is still at an early and nascent stage of growth.
Technical institutes across the country should start putting more emphasis on entrepreneurship education, create awareness, encourage incubation (including mentoring) and industry collaboration so a day is not far when higher educational institutions can make meaningful contributions to augment the quantity and quality of new ideas and start-ups thereby proactively contributing to the economic growth and development of the nation!