Industry-academia collaboration with Government intervention in India is absolutely essential

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By Education Today

Posted on April 10, 2022


7 min read

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How was MyCaptain incepted? How has it evolved over years?

The idea of MyCaptain was born out of a hostel room discussion. Zeeshan (CEO and Co-Founder) wanted to become an Astronomer, Sameer (Co-Founder) wanted to become a Tech blogger and Ruhan (Co-Founder) wanted to become a Writer. But when they approached their parents for the same, they were met with criticism, cynicism and eventually all the three ended up studying Engineering, a subject they were never passionate about. While in college they met amazing potential filmmakers, designers, developers, photographers, models, and whatnot, but unfortunately, they all were studying subjects they had no interest in. This led the founders to believe that the problem of making uninformed career choices or not being able to follow their passions was a problem that their entire generation faced. MyCaptain started only with 5 courses and the majority of students being from top tier cities like Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, etc but in the last 24 months, we now have more than 50+ courses in fields ranging from standup comedy, music production to entrepreneurship, artificial intelligence, Finance, etc. Major demography has now shifted to tier 2 & tier 3 cities and 56% of our users come from tier 2 & tier 3 cities and what we have seen is that the crowd there is more aspirational now, in these smaller cities are looking forward to building alternate careers and looking for opportunities to do that.

As a key player in online mentoring, what are your thoughts on skill-based education?

The current pandemic has advanced the use of local products and has helped people recognize the importance of a skill-driven society. With the help of schemes such as Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), students can receive both security and benefit, as it aids in an equivalent acknowledgement of both informal and formal learning. Students are the human capital of the country and it is essential to empower them for the development of the economy. Students should also keep in mind that, post-COVID, the skill-based sector will witness a jump in the demand of job opportunities related to sanitation, health, technology and more. With the various skilled workforce roles, students can be a part of the process in helping break down the cycle of unemployment.

Please elucidate over essential role of soft skills in career building?

Every company required professionals those are great at communication, good with team work and able to fit in culture of the company. If you have the hard skills which required for the job but lack these soft skills like communication, team work, collaborations then you are less likely to get selected comparing to any other candidate. The candidate who has a better flare for communication, writing, time management etc is going to be preferred over a candidate that doesn’t have these soft skills    

What role Edtech companies can play in soft-skill development?

It’s just not Edtech but the colleges as well. Majority of collages face issues in placement primarily not because students are not well equipped or skilled, but they lack severe communication skills. it’s a huge gap. The students lack confidence, communication skills, presentation skills this is what contributes to them not securing a job which otherwise they would have got because of their hard skills. So, what Ed-tech companies can do is have a placement & communication training in place and apart from the hard skills include these soft skills in the curriculum.

Edtech companies are expected to reap benefits in near future, thanks to COVID-19 and lockdown. In what ways you are competing for the same?

MyCaptain did see a massive increase in the number of enrollments during the COVID -19 period and continues to see such uprise, things have become more stable now and it has become an accepted reality that online courses are here to stay and they feasible and gives desired outcome. The market matured a year or two earlier because of COVID-19 and hence we enrolments coming in faster.

Please tell us about your recent tie-up with Filter Copy. How it will fit into your growth strategy?

With FilterCopy, we have released a pro course for social media management where we are going to train students for 3 months and then helping them get jobs like a social media manager, social media content creator, etc. The direction that the company is talking in the future is that of launching more such pro courses and collaborating with industries rather than academic institutions to launch industry-relevant courses and are gratified by partners which are going to hire these students. We have an industry & outcome focused approach and we believe in tying up with the best of the brands and these brands will bridge a massive gap between Industry & academia   

Why do you think India lags behind when it comes to skill development?

The Educators in most colleges are professors who do not have any industry experience. In the engineering & business colleges it’s a common thing to see and this does leads to gap between what is needed in the industry and what’s being taught.

What are your thoughts on linking academia, industry, and government to achieve excellence in skill development?

The Government, Industry and Academia are three different worlds. All three have different purposes and approach. However, the rapid pace of change across the globe has compelled them to function in sync with each other to address some of the major challenges of higher education landscape. To deliver the quality higher education for knowledge generation, technology development, technology transfer, skill development, employability generation and entrepreneurship, transparent industry-academia collaboration with Government intervention in India is absolutely essential on the pattern of the developed countries of the world.

The new National Education Policy (NEP2020) will bring in a reduction in curriculum content to enhance essential learning and soft skills. What kind of thrust will this move give to the Indian education system?

I think the soft skills part of it will be covered through the aspect of social & emotional learning being a focus area of the NEP. Areas like problem-solving, emotional intelligence, etc are going to be the key focus. I don’t know how it will be executed or what will be the ways of implementing this. We’ll have a clearer idea once the NEP starts rolling out.

How would you visualize the Indian Edtech market of the future?

I think the Indian Edtech market is going to mature a bit and move away from only being limited to K12 and test prep. We have seen spurts of casual learning, hobbies, etc being the focus area in the new age of Edtech, so that is refreshing to see. In the future, we are going to see more technology-integrated platforms, we will see how AI comes into place. 

How do you intend to stir the growth of MyCaptain in the years to come?

MyCaptain will be focusing on helping students gain skills and get jobs in alternate careers. Careers that deal with non-tech things like social media, finance, design, content creation, etc. In next 2-3 years, we will be focusing on skilling at least 1 million students in a year such that we are truly able to call ourselves an alternative to the industry. There are 1 Million students who appear for various engineering exams. At the same time, there will be 1 million students who will also be learning alternate things like standup comedy, music production, designing, film making, etc on Mycaptain in the same year.