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Apprenticeship-linked Degrees Are the Way to Go: Recent Study

The New Education Policy brought many interesting and much needed suggestions to make our education system holistic. And as a part, it also introduced the Apprenticeship link Degree Program, where the committee encourages- Higher Educational Institutions to embed Apprenticeship/Internship in any UG degree programs specified by UGC.

A recent study conducted by Schoolguru Eduserve, a TeamLease company, might finally help put this question to bed. The study is based on a survey among 3,905 respondents from all across India, of which 79.6 percent were traditional learners and 20.4 percent were employed learners in the range of 18 to over 35 years across the country.

In this study, nearly 3905 students were interviewed and asked questions pertaining to education reforms in degree programs. Nearly 71.18 per cent students interviewed stated that preferred a degree that incorporated practical skill development. Given the pragmatism of today’s youth and increasing cost of education, this finding does not come as a surprise but only reinstates the importance of skill development.

Further, a 65.41 per cent of the students surveyed stated that apprenticeship-linked degrees had more utility when compared to traditional degrees that are on offer in most Indian colleges. This number is significant for the question we raised earlier and should be weighed in when making a case for courses to include an apprenticeship or internship.

UGC also came out with its ‘Guidelines for Higher Education Institutions to offer Apprenticeship/ Internship embedded Degree Program’ issued on 24th July, 2020, so as to improve the learning ecosystem and make learning holistic.

Let us take the legal sector as an illustration. The legal education and practice in India is evolving and is regulated by the Bar Council of India. As per the Rules of the Bar Council of India, law students are expected to complete a minimum period of internship not extending 4 weeks in duration, during academic sessions. One might argue that this is not followed by all law colleges, but the fact that internships are stressed upon in top law schools and law firms in the country, it can be said that the legal industry has realised the importance of incorporating practical training.

Most top employers in the country have a dedicated internship or apprenticeship program and these programs also result in pre-placement offers or invitations for job interviews. Not only do students get to experience the work and culture at the organisation but the organisation is also able to decide if the intern/apprentice will be a good fit.

Among the other staggering findings of the study, almost half of the participants confessed that they have currently taken admission or plan to take admission in a course for skill development. This statistic tells us that many students are looking to reinforce their current education with enhancement of practical skills. The study also recorded more than 53 per cent of the learners who were working and 48 per cent of the traditional learners have undertaken at least one short certificate course in the last two years.

"Be it traditional learners studying in higher education institutions or employed professionals enrolling for completion of their incomplete degrees, both are looking at learning additional skills that will help them fulfil their career aspirations," Schoolguru Eduserve Founder and CEO Shantanu Rooj said.

The writing is on the wall for education reforms in India - apprenticeship-linked Degrees are the way to for educational institutions in 2021 and beyond!