Transformative Power of Experiential Learning: Bridging the Gap between Education and Employment

by Saurav Bhaik, CEO & Founder of Tagbin Services Pvt Ltd

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In the ever-evolving landscape of the global workforce, the demand for skills transcends conventional education. The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2023 not only underscores the urgency for “work-ready” skills but illuminates the critical role played by experiential learning models in shaping adaptable professionals. As we traverse the terrain of the future of work, the significance of experiential learning in cultivating “employability skills” is becoming increasingly apparent.

Global Spotlight

The 2023 WEF survey provides compelling insights, revealing that a staggering 70% of global employers consider experiential learning indispensable for future job candidates. This endorsement echoes the sentiment in the OECD’s 2021 study, highlighting higher employment rates for graduates of vocational education programs enriched with experiential elements. The correlation between practical skills and employability, as illuminated by OECD Education at a Glance 2021, further fortifies the case for embracing experiential learning-the process of learning by doing.

The Indian Canvas

Turning our attention to the Indian context, NITI Aayog’s 2022 India’s Skills Report serves as a wake-up call, revealing that a mere 46% of the workforce possesses skills aligned with industry demands and the underlying causes are predominantly, the lack of domain-specific applicative knowledge and real world experience. The stark reality is further highlighted by the Ministry of Education’s Performance Grading Index for 2022-23, reporting a concerning 10.3% unemployment rate among graduates as of March 2022. Reports in credible media platforms consistently shed light on the persistently high unemployment rates among educated youth. Moreover, if immediately something is not done to mend the  situation, these numbers are expected to grow exponentially. The demand for provision of vocational training facilities along with the prevalent traditional schooling system is dire, especially when the private sector is evolving at an unfathomable rate. 

Bridging the Divide

In response to these challenges, the National Education Policy 2020 advocates for a paradigm shift, emphasizing the integration of vocational training and hands-on experiences into the educational landscape. The NSDC Sector Skill Councils, with their industry-aligned skill development programs, stand as pillars supporting the bridge between education and employability.Major changes have been suggested in the school curriculum level and it would help in providing the students the practical training needed to do well in life.

Heartbeat of the narrative

Experiential learning startups revolutionise education, bridging the gap between classrooms and reality. Coding boot camps and immersive technologies like VR and AR offer practical skills in real-world scenarios. Amid global challenges, these startups prioritize adaptability and practicality.

In the grand tapestry of global employment, experiential learning emerges as a beacon of hope, shaping a future-ready workforce. The data underscores a compelling truth: investing in experiential learning is not just strategic but a necessity, unlocking potential and aligning education with industry needs.

It is high time when schools and colleges must integrate experiential learning into curricula, fostering career-ready graduates, increasing student retention and for an overall public welfare at both moral and prudent grounds. 

Expert Insights

The voices of key decision-makers echo through the corridors of change. The government rightfully emphasises the need for integrating vocational training and skill development. This would benefit the individual, society and is much needed for making a developed India.