Cementing the right foundation

There is no denying the fact that loopholes in university education system have led to a big gap between the industry demand and availability of right talent pool. However, the biotech education market of late is witnessing new dynamics as the focus shifts


One cannot blame an aspiring student, if he chooses to ignore bioscience industry as a viable career option in the longer run. At the moment when everything in an education market is driven by job opportunities, the sector certainly lacks appeal. Even now, owing to the limited opportunities, a good career in biotechnology in India means that one has to either go for higher research (doctoral, postdoctoral research) or wait for a long time to get a good position in the industry.

A few bright students from top universities, who chose to join the industry, on the other hand, are stuck with a comparatively small package, stagnant job, and absence of innovative research, at their level.

Experts point out that there is a danger that 70 percent of these students will become redundant and down the lane most of them will be of no use. Going by that, we may end up having a huge base of students who will curse us for having nothing to do. The industry generally feels that academia is not creating industry- oriented professionals. They might be even right but the universities generally don't expect their students to work directly in the industry after their post graduation courses.

Finishing school adds value
So what is the solution? First of all, the creation of the right talent pool in this industry is very important. There are certain issues that need to be addressed at the base of this problem. One is the curriculum that is offered in the educational institutes and the other being the necessary infrastructure needed to carry out the research.

The right training and exposure is also important for the creation of the enriched talent pool required for developing the industry. For that there is a need for the government to evolve a clear cut strategy on employment. "If you want to hire million people by 2020, you need to educate millions today. I am told that Department of Biotechnology (DBT) is running 140 programs in 70 universities in areas such as nutrition, environment, marine biotechnology, bioentrepreneurship, and bioinstrumentation," mentioned the union minister of human resources and development (HRD), Mr Shashi Tharoor at the tenth anniversary celebrations of the Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises (ABLE), held in March, 2013.

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