Roadmap to industry ready students?

Experts think that the time is ripe for joint efforts to create a workforce that matches the industry standards

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New Delhi: The biotech industry is still considered to be in nascent stage and yet the Indian companies  are facing difficulties in  recruiting skilled students required by it. Experts think that the time is ripe for joint efforts to create a workforce that matches the industry standards.

The human resources constitute one of the most important assets of any nation since they represent potential and creativity and determine how efficiently the other resources are utilized. At the same time, aspirations are surely driven by job opportunities and this is kept in mind by every student while joining any course. In case of biotechnology, the experts believe that in today’s scenario, more higher research you  pursue in the field, the more refined and experienced you become. For a good career in biotechnology, it seems that one has to go for higher research (PhD, Postdoctoral research). Few bright students from top universities have found out the stagnant nature of the job in the companies and very limited opportunities for them to do something innovative in the research.

More entrepreneurs mean expanded industry

Most of the students who joined biotech stream acknowledge that as biology students they had to face a lot of peer pressure for moving into this field owing to the nice comparisons on employment with IT industry.  A good number of department heads at both public and private universities believe that the industry has not grown to the extent to which it was expected. The opinion of these experts is that it is highly impossible to absorb everybody among the large number of students produced every year. Therefore, promoting entrepreneurship will lead to both creation of more opportunities as well as expansion of the industry. And it is a fact that only suitable academic environment, that can prepare the students with an entrepreneurial frame of mind.

According to a Delhi based education consultant, “There has been a huge increase in the number of students opting for this subject every year. But now with lot of graduates not finding the expected jobs, I get lot many calls on the future of these students. I hope this doesn’t lead to disappointment.”

Study place shapes the aptitude

As one expert pointed out that the mushrooming of institutes without basic facilities has created chaos. “These small time private institutes lack experienced teachers to teach even the basic biology. Therefore, it is wrong to have expectations from the graduates who are not taught properly and even wrong to consider them biotechnologists as they lack the required skills”, she added.

Few experts believe that there is a huge difference in the way the private and the public institutes work.  There is a difference of thinking among students who get into private and public because of the examination they go through and exposure they get. The parameters for public university should be different from the private universities. Since the students here consider the higher research as more interesting  them to industry jobs at this stage, it should not be taken as that students don’t get placed. The placements in biotech industry may be a point of case for private players but not the public institutes.

With the industry exploring more options in global drug discovery programmes and large scale manufacturing, the dearth of skills and excellence becomes even more apparent. Hence the immediate need is the joint effort by the private and public education stakeholders to work with the biotech industry in developing a roadmap to produce a skilled and excellent workforce.