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ACFA’s admirable initiative at bridging the industry-education gap

In collaboration with NAAC, the college hosted a webinar to emphasise upon hands-on learning and practical skills

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The demands of the job market are changing rapidly. Your best skill today might become a skill of yesterday in no time. Whether it is in the pandemic or otherwise, those who are not upskilled in time are sure to fall behind and struggle to make their way up the corporate ladder.

To prepare students to become job creators of tomorrow, the Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC) of Apeejay College of Fine Arts (ACFA) in Jalandhar in association with National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), Bangalore recently organised a webinar on the topic:  Bridging the Industry Academia Gap to Promote Quality Education.The aim of the session was to address the gap that exists between the education system and future workforce. Exploring innovative methods in teaching pedagogy especially through the experiential mode of learning, the webinar encouraged students to go for a project-based approach to meet the demands of the 21st century workforce.

Dr. Hardeep Singh, Dean Academics, Guru Nanak Dev University, (GNDU), Amritsar was the keynote speaker at the session. In his address, he discussed the importance of tying industry with education to reduce unemployment in the nation. He advised how an enriching academic bank of credits will open an environment for students to follow their inclinations. The same would become mandatory for the college to innovate and think out-of-the-box. “Teachers must also train themselves to be instrumental in this process. It requires consistent effort to train students and get them absorbed by the industries and corporations,” he said.

Three technical sessions were conducted during the webinar by Dr. Rajeev Bansal, Joint Director, H.P. Institute of Public Administration, Dr. Rishi Raj Sharma, Professor, Department of Business Management and Associate Dean, GNDU, Regional Campus, Gurdaspur, and Mr. Vishal Sharma, General Secretary, Jalandhar Management Association, respectively.

In the first session, Dr. Bansal highlighted the experiential form of learning which puts the learner at the centre of the process and stresses on an all-round mental growth. According to Bansal, “A good education system is not the art of putting ideas into people’s heads. It is about drawing ideas out of it.”

The second session by Dr. Rishi Raj focused on bridging the industry-academia gap from an entrepreneurial perspective. He discussed how students at present are not industry-skilled to be part of the global manpower. He, therefore, suggested an effective model for building more job creators by engaging students in critical analysis and asking them to seek solutions to industry-related issues.

The third session was about technology-driven changes in the industry in the past few decades. Vishal Sharma explained how technological disruptions have increased the skill gap between educational institutions and corporate houses. “Despite mushrooming of private players in the educational sector, currently, only 20% degree holders in the country are employable,” he said. By establishing an internal ecosystem to develop a corporate mindset, students should be exposed to real-world situations through idea generation, idea screening, concept and strategy development, prototyping etc., according to him.

At the event, Mr. Sudhir Gera, Director, Operations, IEC GENSETS Limited, Chandigarh delivered a valedictory address. He highlighted that the foremost skill that industry experts seek from an employee is people skills and sales management skills. “It’s not the skill but the will that is focused on, and in this tech-driven world, one has to be both – the first and the fast mover.”
Concluding the event, Dr. Manisha Sharma, Member, IQAC at ACFA delivered a vote of thanks to the eminent guests, speakers, faculty and students.

“I wish to express my gratitude towards NAAC for giving us this extraordinary opportunity. The resource persons have given valuable and practical suggestions which will not only help students succeed, but will drive them to be job creators and allow them to become crucial players in the process of nation-building. It is an opportunity for our students to learn from the experiences of these experts, and receive the right kind of exposure in the right direction.”

-Dr. Neerja Dhingra, Principal, ACFA, Jalandhar

Mrini Devnani is Senior Correspondent (Newsroom). She covers student achievements, interviews and contributions for the website. She was a former Correspondent covering Edutech for the India Today Group, and has a passion for Social Media and Digital Marketing. You can reach her at [email protected]

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