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The Evolution of Education: Role of capacity development programmes in building students

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We all are aware that education is evolving rapidly, and excelling the university curriculum is not enough at all for the students to be fit for the job-market. Capacity development trainings are vital in the holistic development of students to provide them real-world knowledge, and help them connect and relate the lessons learned in classrooms to the outside world. It’s also necessary for bridging the academia-industry gap.

And, various kinds of programmes including workshops, seminars, ECAs, leadership programmes, employability skills training, public speaking and soft-skill training, foreign language training, etc. are regularly organized by educational institutions for the holistic development of their students.

In this context, Glocal Khabar talked to Dipkar Thapa, Programme Director of Uniglobe College and Naresh Prasad Shrestha, CEO of Samriddhi College. This article revolves around their opinion and experiences of the methodologies applied in their respective colleges.

Necessity of Capacity Development Programmes

“In this age of competition, most of the colleges have realized that delivering theoretical knowledge from the university syllabus is not sufficient. There is a huge gap between market needs and what is delivered to the students,” shares Thapa. “Along with the theoretical education required to pass the exams, students need skills required in the fields like leadership skills, communication skills, and employability skills. These soft skills help the students to sell them in the job market. As it’s sheerly lacking in the university part, the colleges these days focusing on such programmes and providing the students with plus points so that they are fit in the industry,” he adds.

Similarly, Naresh Prasad Shrestha from Samriddhi College echoes Thapa on this aspect. He says that colleges and educational institutions should focus more on the holistic development of students, not only delivering the syllabus. “Besides academics, overall personality development should also be prioritized. Studying curriculum alone won’t help anymore,” he opines.

The role of college has changed now

In previous times, it was perfectly okay for a college to teach syllabus only. But, because of the competition in the market, and emergence of the number of colleges and academic programmes, the role of the institutions has changed now. “While making a hire, companies have started to focus on the plus points of students. This is also the reason colleges have started providing such facilities to the students lately,” shares Shrestha.

“If you look at the academic system of Nepali institutions, we are still running through the age-old system. But, the colleges have started to realize it. They are getting more proactive and have started to run more creative thinking sessions. It’s evolving slowly,” says Thapa.

How are the colleges performing on these aspects?

“We have been conducting such programmes on a regular basis with the motive of making students industry-ready”, Shrestha shared to Glocal Khabar. “Recently, we had recently had a resource person from the USA on Technical Writing workshop,” he added.

“We do conduct many bootcamps and workshops. It helps the students to realize the industry and know the environment. We also groom them in a way they become entrepreneurs in future,” Shrestha further shared.

Likewise, sharing the context of Uniglobe College, Thapa mentioned that they have been conducting such programmes time and again, including the programmes for the development of communication skills, soft-skills, and employability skills in the students. “Recently, we had conducted accounting and financial training to the MBA students (Finance) who are towards the end of their academic session. It was completely a practical session, and was delivered by Chartered Accountants. Prior to this, we had conducted HR skills trainings to the students by a renowned HR professional,” he added.

Interests of students towards such activities

Samriddhi College CEO Shrestha find the students very much interested in such activities. “At a time when they are not getting enough of opportunities, I’ve seen them taking massive benefits from such programmes. They are enjoying it. And, it’s helping in their overall development,” he says.

“We too find the students keenly interested in such trainings. Having gone through the same academic curriculum by the same teacher throughout the academic session, students feel refreshed to get into such activities that are delivered by experts and professionals in the market. To add more, as such skills are highly important in the job field, they are very much willing to participate in such programmes,” Thapa recalls the response of students on such activities.

To the college students:

The organizations/employers have lately changed the trend. Earlier high marks in the certificates used to be the sole basis for making hires, the employers these days look for other qualities in the students, from team-playing skills to communication skills and decision-making skills.

“The competition in the job-market is growing. And, there are cases of even the top-scorers not being able to perform that well at the job. So, we need to identify what skills we need to have before entering the market, and prepare that in advance. Don’t depend on the bookish knowledge only, but also on extra-curricular activities and other practical skills,” advises Thapa to the students.

Meanwhile, Shrestha says that students themselves need to be proactive in this matter, and need to insist the colleges bring more such programmes that ultimately help them to enter and excel in the job field.

Presentation: Basanta Kumar Dhakal