A number of research organisations financed by private endowments, industry, professional associations, universities and centres of advanced learning, too, have been occupied with scientific research.
Typical examples are: The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai; The Bose Institute, Kolkata; The Birbal Sahni Institute of Paleobotany, Lucknow; The Ahmedabad Textile Industry’s Research Association, Mumbai; The South Indian Textile Research Association, Coimbatore; The Indian Jute Industries Research Association, Kolkata; The Maharashtra Association for Cultivation of Science, Poona; The Sri Ram Institute for Industrial Research, Delhi, etc. All these are offering jobs to outstanding youngmen and women.
The tremendous technological and scientific development and growth is throwing up new occupational outlets. More and more persons are specialising in the rapidly expanding new fields like Nuclear Physics, and Nuclear Power Generation, Electronics Engineering, Computerisation, etc.
There has been tremendous technological development during the past three decades which has resulted in huge industrial growth and expansion.
Today, the country is producing its own supersonic fighter aircraft, heavy electrical transmission equipment, railway engines, sophisticated instruments and equipment, engineering goods and machinery, light and heavy armaments, etc. The country has, in fact, come a long way in the field of industrialisation.
Industrialisation has not only created innumerable new job opportunities, but has also thrown up new occupations, in the wake of development of improved technological processes and new raw materials.
Fuel and gas, petroleum, chemical and plastics, technologies and electronics, agriculture, forging and heat treatment, hydraulics and dam engineering and naval architecture, etc. have developed into distinct specialisations as a result of these developments.
Green and white Revolutions, too, have caused a number of occupational changes. Agriculture has been mechanised. It now requires application of technical know-how and use of new agricultural machinery and implements.
Agricultural research, development and extension work is offering employment to numerous graduates and specialists in various fields of agriculture as agronomy, agricultural botany/ chemistry/economics/entomology/microbiology/marketing/ extension/sociology, mycology and plant pathology, plant breeding and genetics, plant physiology, etc., horticulture, floriculture, fisheries, veterinary science and animal husbandry, animal nutrition, animal pathology, dairy science, warehousing, water conservation, soil science, poultry farming, etc.
Agricultural revolution has also opened up and steadily expanding avenues of self-employment—agro-service centres, customs service units, agro industries, rural industries, forest based . Industries, etc.
Increasing urbanisation has also resulted in greater housing, educational, transport and recreational activities and is throwing up innumerable service industries and occupations to cater to the demand of the urban population.
There is a steady growth in the number of workers in transport, catering, construction, education and service occupations.
The establishment and seemingly unending growth of local transport, electricity, water, milk, gas, petroleum and petroleum products and food and food products supply system and public health, sanitary and fire services are also the necessary off-shoots of urbanistion.
Then, there are numerous other ‘social’ services to tackle sociological problems arising from urbanisation; law and order, magistracy and judiciary, housing and slum clearance, town planning and development, delinquency and vagrancy, beggary and immoral traffic, unemployment, labour unrest and dispose, etc.—all these offer various career openings.
In addition to all these, the breakup of occupations and jobs has created new occupations at the national level. Three decades ago, there were not many engineering occupations other than those of the popular civil, mechanical and electrical engineers.
The National Classification of Occupations (NCO), 1968 lists 82 occupations of engineers and technologists at the degree and specialisation level. And by the time, this book is being written, some new branches might have emerged.
It is obvious that the occupational pattern is fast changing. New occupations are emerging, some old ones are disappearing.
It is obligatory for the institutions of higher learning to keep them posted with the latest information regarding the developments in occupational pattern, and the surplus and shortage occupations to avoid the imbalance in demand and supply; to predict the occupational outlook; to forecast the manpower requirements and plan and adjust the educational facilities accordingly.
Institutions of higher learning should also keep a close contact with the Directorate General of Employment and Training, Institute of Applied Man Power Research, Planning Commission, Directorate of Man Power, etc. to keep themselves equipped with research on occupational outlook, manpower forecasting and manpower projection and demands.
The Present Dilemma:
The greatest dilemma of the present is that the contact between institutions of higher learning and those responsible for using their products is not effective. The institutions do not know where to modify their programmes in more functional directions.
The passive absorption of knowledge and the uncertainty of being able to use it in a career is unwelcome to young people of intelligence anywhere.
The underlying unease amongst students does not help them to get the most from institutions of higher learning nor does it enable them to make a rational and constructive contribution to the economy.
There is also the lacuna as far as the products of institutions of higher learning are concerned. Employers complain that their products are inadequately equipped.
The graduates even in specialised subjects are unable to cope with their work without substantial further training, and graduates recruited for responsible jobs lack the qualities and skills of good management. Some ex-students also complain that they were taught much that is of no use to them!
Why close Liaison between Institutions of Higher Learning and the World of Work?
Close liaison between institutions of higher learning and the World of Work is needed to:
1. Help students to understand the world of work and to appreciate where they are likely to stand in it;
2. Help students to enter appropriate employment;
3. Help employers to pick suitable young workers;
4. Reveal the quantitative and qualitative needs of the world of work to students and the faculty;
5. Bring the work of institutions into as practical a relationship as possible with the needs of the economy;
6. Ensure the proper quality of products;
7. Involve and associate employers in the work of the educational establishments which, in the end, will provide them with their key staff; and
8. Check the imbalance between supply and demand in various sectors of economy.