High education space needs meaningful participation from corporates

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There needs to be more efforts to allow corporates to start participating in education in a meaningful way, pointed out Ramkumar Ramamoorthy, former CMD, Cognizant India.

“We have corporates participating in schools in a big way, but in terms of higher education, we have very limited examples. In the post-pandemic period, with distributed technology development and talent available across Tamil Nadu and India, it is a huge opportunity for industries to go and establish a physical presence inside campuses,” he said while sharing his thoughts at a session on “Expanding education landscape of Tamil Nadu,” at the event “Tamil Nadu Unlimited – gateway to infinite opportunities,” organised by The Hindu Group and Guidance Tamil Nadu here.

Education paradigm

For eg, Cognizant entered Coimbatore 15-16 years ago and today it has a staff strength of about 15,000 people in the textile city. Cognizant established its premises inside Kumaruguru College of Technology so that students could take up internships and Cognizant staff could teach students. We need to move away from the traditional model of internships and work out innovative models,” he said.

Tamil Nadu should promote more State-private universities. While India has 450 private universities, Tamil Nadu has only two State private universities now,” he added.

Discussing the choice of subjects by students, Ramamoorthy pointed out that there is an increasing interest in studying humanities programmes now. “We are beginning to see the pendulum swing back. When we talk to institutes that offer courses in economics and psychology, they now get more applications for these subjects than for undergraduate programmes in computer science.

“Even the so-called engineering institutions have started offering humanities programmes such as B.A Economics with a specialisation in Data Analytics. Also, some of the best-known newer institutions such as Asoka, O P Jindal and Krea, among others focus primarily on science, humanities, social sciences and arts.,” he added.

Parents are also equally responsible for skewed choices toward engineering as they think that only engineering, medicine, and chartered accountancy offer career growth.

He was of the view there needs to be more awareness about role models in humanities who climbed the corporate ladder and have made it big.

Citing a few examples, he said CEO of Accenture, the largest IT services company, Julie Sweet is a lawyer by qualification. After she took over she added $10 billion of revenue in one year something that no other IT services company has done. He also cited people at the helm of companies like Wipro, IBM, etc.

V Kamakoti, Director of IIT-Madras said though Tamil Nadu’s gross enrollment ratio of about 50 per cent is good, the State should strive to reach 100 per cent.

“TN has the largest number of higher educational institutions, but students coming out of the institutes are not industry-ready and the State government’s Naan Mudhalvan scheme seeks to address that skill gap,” said J Innocent Divya, MD, Tamil Nadu Skill Development Corporation.

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