Employability and soft skills have for long been a major hindrance to young graduates and postgraduates getting a job. Taking note of this, the Panjab University has decided to intervene and start non-credit (results do not reflect in grades or transcripts) courses from the 2014-15 academic session.
Under the plan, modules in communication skills, research methodology, aptitude and psychometric aspects have been designed and as a first step, final-year postg raduate and undergraduate students would be enrolled into these courses. The aim will be to hone the student’s soft skills.
“We have received lists of nearly 4,000-odd students from 60-odd departments, who are interested in these modules. Some other departments are to submit the list of students soon. By July-end, we will have a concrete plan on how many students wish to join which module,” said Suresh Kumar Chadha, honorary director, central placement cell, at the varsity.
The varsity has embarked upon the plan following inputs from companies visiting the campus that students lacked soft skills. “Most students are not aware of what lay ahead in the course they would be graduating from,” most executives felt.
Nearly 15,000 students are enrolled at the university for UG, PG and PhD programs.
“Depending upon the success of the intitiative, students of the first and second year in the undergraduate courses and firstyear students at PU, will be considered for such programmes,” an official said.
“These modules will run throughout the year and teachers from university and industry experts will be roped in to hone the students’ skills,” Chadha said adding that at the end of the year, students would be awarded a cer tificate for a non-credit course. This will help during placements, he claimed.
Teachers for these modules would be provided handsome honorarium, Chadha claimed.
The central placement cell has been granted a budget of Rs 5 crore for the purpose to start with.
Accommodation for 400 students has been arranged for at the examination hall building near the Student Centre.
“Experience shows that students lack soft skills and many of them are not aware as to what kind of jobs they would get after they completing their studies,” Chadha said.
PAST PLACEMENT DRIVE EXPERIENCE
The highest offer made at a job fair at the varsity in PU this year was Rs 9.6 lakh per annum to a computer science PhD scholar.
Though good, it fails to match the salaries at other institutes of national repute and PU vicechancellor Arun Kumar Grover has long been advocating steps to raise the placement percentage.
The recent fair saw 80% placement in the three-day drive. However, the average salary given to its students remains abysmally low. This is primarily blamed on poor soft skills.