There has always existed a gap between industry and academia ever since the emergence of the modern era believes Vikas Gupta, MD, Wiley India. However, this was not always the situation. In the past, education was always geared to provide skills which would help students find the right job. In such situations, academia and the various extant industries at the time cooperate with each other to provide a smooth transition between student life and professional life for an individual. It should also be noted that relatively, jobs used to be few and the competition in the job market was not as pronounced as it is now.
However, times have changed and with changes in time various industries have had to adapt themselves in order to survive the major onslaught of change brought about. Earlier, industries primarily relied on human resources and the existence of a skilled workforce to propel them on the path of excellence and prosperity. With huge leaps in technology and data processing, however, a new kind of industrial revolution is currently underway, one involving the processes of digitization and cloud computing. Experts have already dubbed it as the fourth industrial revolution and they have christened the current nature and functioning of various industries under the umbrella term Industry 4.0.
On the other end of the picture, education in general and academia in particular have remained relatively aloof from the giant strides which industries have partaken in. This has resulted in the creation of an artificial gap which did not and should not exist. Since institutes of higher education still adhere to traditional modes of learning, they remain a bit backward when it comes to the best and modern practices employed by today’s industries. As a result, students are not taught the necessary skills which would enable them to get a job in the field of their choice.
The need of the hour is to understand and accept the way Industry 4.0 operates so as to overhaul the fundamental way in which institutes of higher learning impart education to its students, so as to optimize the chances of students getting the jobs that they desire the most. A more viable approach in closing this gap would be instead to create an alternative method of imparting education. This would involve a number of necessary measures, such as educators being aware about the nuances of Industry 4.0 as well engaging the active assistance of experts from the various sectors of Industry 4.0 to help develop the syllabus and course structure for the benefit of the students and their dream of advancing their careers. Whatever route that could be taken, if the above-mentioned measures and steps are taken then the days of this industry-academia gap are indeed numbered. The key idea here is for the educators to change correspondingly to the new situations and re-establish that cooperation between industry and academia so as to make the transition between education and professional career advancement smoother, quicker and beneficial for all the parties involved.