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Posted at: Apr 16, 2017, 12:08 AM; last updated: Apr 16, 2017, 12:08 AM (IST)

Demand picking up for ‘alternative courses’

Vijay C Roy in Chandigarh
A technology-driven market has triggered fresh assessment of academic courses. India’s youth is increasingly taking more interest in courses that directly serve people’s daily requirements
Demand picking up for ‘alternative courses’
The country’s Labour Bureau figures reveal that at the all-India level, only 109,000 jobs were created (in eight job-intensive non-farm sectors) during April-September 2016 — way below government's promised goal of 1 crore jobs each year. And according to a United Nations International Labour Organisation report, unemployment in India may witness a marginal increase between 2017 and 2018, signaling stagnation in job creation in the country. 

But if the job front looks tough, there are careers that are pushing the youth to newer directions. Here’s how: 

“Half of my clients are students who come for career counselling. It is beyond doubt that students don't want traditional courses. I suggest courses such as Animation, Bioinformatics and Radio Diagnostics on the basis of one's personality, intelligence and aptitude. These courses are very well received,” says Panchkula-based Dr Shashi Sethi, Consultant & Psychologist, Ishh Guidance & Counselling Centre.

Career counsellors think that students are looking for innovative courses. These could involve wine tasting, digital marketing and gemology, indicating that every new 'offbeat' course is being welcomed these days. 

There was a time when a degree, diploma or certificate reflected in the curriculum vitae determined the worth of a person. “Today, when we have such examples as Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Jack Ma and many others, who were not the alumni any world class institution, the myth that college degrees are capable of providing jobs and career opportunities is getting ruptured,” says Dr RS Bawa, vice chancellor, Chandigarh University,

A 'disruptive transformation' has not taken place overnight. Two factors — funding crisis in institutions of higher learning and escalating costs with rapid technological changes — could be responsible for this makeover. Artificial intelligence, in particular, is the guiding force behind this change. The courses offering more of technology are in higher demand. The trend seems exactly in line with the future requirements. 

The day is not far when we would experience driverless cars, robots operating the patients in hospitals and automated lectures being delivered on mobile phones. India’s youth (constituting nearly 133 million in the age group of 17-23 years) is definitely changing career preferences. 

Figures prepared by the Ministry of Human Resource Development on higher education reveal that instead of traditional streams, students are preferring to go for new courses such as Animation Technology, Media Studies, Aviation, Electronic commerce & accounting, Biotechnology, Microbiology and Cloud computing. 

Anshu Kataria, chairman, Aryan Group of Colleges says the institute has added new courses, such as BSc in agriculture and Nursing. “These courses lay more stress on meeting job requirements. This is a new trend in a situation where employers are unable to get adequately equipped employees,” says Dr Rajiv Khosla of University School of Business, Chandigarh University. That’s why there is a demand for short-term courses such as ethical hacking, habitat policy and practice, and photonics. 

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