Phone rotate NU is all about fresh perspectives. So is our website.
Watch us in portrait mode to discover what makes us different.

Industry Needs vs. Graduate Skills, Prof. Sugata Mitra, Professor Emeritus, NIIT University shows us how to bridge the oversized gap

May 26, 2020
According to recent statistics, India is set to have the second-largest graduate global talent pipeline by the end of 2020. However, the National Employability Report 2016, which studied over 1.5 lakh engineering students, revealed that almost 80% of them were unemployable. And just 3% had the skills needed for software and product market. How can places of higher learning bridge the gap between the skills industry needs, and what students possess? Prof. Sugata Mitra, Professor Emeritus, NIIT University believes that in the world driven by the Internet and digital disruptions, educational institutions have to re-evaluate the concept of “knowing”. He tells us how!

Prof. Mitra was the Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University, the UK for 13 years, a position he retired from last year. He is also Chief Scientist Emeritus at NIIT Limited, where he worked for over 16 years. His vast experience has given him valuable insights into essentially disparate worlds of industry and academia. He sheds light on the changing landscape as he says, “The world has changed tremendously in the past decade because of the reach of the Internet. If you don’t know something you can look it up instantly. Unfortunately, the education sector hasn’t factored it in, so examinations still test for memory.”

That as we know is an unproductive and ineffective exercise. Every placement season recruiters talk about “subject knowledge” amongst other skills like effective communication amongst potential candidates. Prof. Mitra has a three C mantra to help create skills set amongst students that is appealing to recruiters. “Comprehension – students need to comprehend material in any form; written, audio, video etc. They should be able to effectively Communicate everything they comprehend in various formats. Computing is their ability to search and collate unbiased information from the Internet. When that happens, subject knowledge will happen by itself,” he adds. And that is how NIIT University students are being prepared and groomed for the industry and its dynamic changes.

In his prolific career, Prof. Mitra was Visiting Professor at Media Lab, MIT in Cambridge, USA. During this stint in 2012, he was awarded the first-ever 1 million dollar TED Prize. For the past two decades, Prof. Mitra has also been a strong advocate of Self-Organized Learning. At NIIT University he hopes to leverage those experiences and work with its proponents from all over the world in different capacities. “Self-Organized Learning is when groups are presented with a problem and are allowed to discuss and use the internet to find answers. It is the opposite of the ‘lecture – test’ method of traditional education,” he highlights its main difference.

Prof. Mitra believes NIIT’s work from the 1990s laid the foundations of Self Organized Learning. Innovative pedagogies coupled with strong industry relations and several other factors has meant that NIIT University has consistently produced industry-ready graduates even when the NER report painted a grim picture on a National level. He asserts that efforts to raise the bar at NIIT University continue. “We are setting up a lab called ‘The Tataha Kim Laboratory’ (Tataha Kim means ‘What next?’). This lab will work with students on the use of the Internet for comprehension, communication and computing,” he claims.

Innovative, industry-oriented, stimulating and engaging initiatives like these make it easier to predict “What’s Next” for future students of NIIT University.
Skip to content