The origins of the Indian education system date back to “Nalanda Mahavira'', considered by many historians as one of the world’s first residential universities and the leading centre of learning in ancient India. It played a critical role in promoting the arts and academics in the 5th and 6th century - a period that has been widely recognised as the “Golden Age of India” by renowned scholars. Since then, we have come a long way! The system has evolved a lot, from gurukuls to modern schooling and, most recently, the onset of online education.
With such history, the Indian education system has traditionally evolved as a framework that lays a strong emphasis on theoretical knowledge hence the importance of obtaining a degree. It represents a concrete measure of academic achievement and professional security. No doubt, for many generations, we have invested one-third of our lives to obtain college degrees. But fast forward to today, the world is changing. As the dynamics of work are changing rapidly, so is the requirement of skills which does not necessarily come with a traditional college degree.
The Rise of Diploma Courses: Five Reasons to pursue one
The rise of diploma courses in India has been notable in recent years, offering an alternative pathway for students to acquire specialized skills and knowledge in various fields.
Firstly, Diploma courses provide practical and industry-specific training, making graduates job-ready and enhancing their employability prospects. These courses generally boast of imparting practical skills and knowledge relevant to specific industries. This approach aligns with the needs of the job market, as employers often seek candidates with hands-on expertise.
Second is its duration, which is enticing to many students. They range from six months to two years, allowing students to enter the workforce quickly. This appeals to individuals who wish to acquire practical skills and start working sooner rather than investing several years in a degree program.
Third is its cost-effectiveness in comparison to degree courses. They are more affordable and less resource-intensive, making them available to a wider spectrum of students. For those from economically challenged families who might not be able to afford a full-fledged degree programme, this cost-effectiveness is especially advantageous.
Fourth, these courses are designed as per the industry requirements. One can find diploma courses in a range of subjects, including but not limited to hospitality, tourism, healthcare, information technology, finance, fashion, and many more.
Last but not least, diploma courses offer flexibility in terms of course choices and specialization. Students can select from a wide range of diploma programs based on their interests and career goals. This allows them to gain expertise in specific areas without having to commit to a broader curriculum. The flexibility in course selection also accommodates individuals who may already be employed and want to upskill or change their career path.
The ultimate question of Degree V/S Skills
In today's rapidly evolving world, the question of degree versus skills has become more than just a matter of preference; it's a critical consideration for individuals and employers alike. While a degree undoubtedly offers a depth of knowledge and a comprehensive academic foundation, the value of practical skills cannot be underestimated. The reality is that employers are increasingly prioritizing candidates with the right skills to meet their immediate needs and contribute effectively to their organizations. Gone are the days when a mere piece of paper held the ultimate power. Employers are now looking for individuals who can hit the ground running, armed with the practical abilities to tackle real-world challenges. Skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, and adaptability have taken centre stage in the hiring process.
While a degree undoubtedly imparts theoretical knowledge, it is the application of that knowledge that truly matters. In today's competitive job market, employers are seeking candidates who can bridge the gap between theory and practice. They want individuals who can bring fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and a hands-on approach to problem-solving. Moreover, the speed at which industries are evolving necessitates continuous learning and upskilling. While a degree may provide a solid foundation, it's often the acquisition of new skills that keeps professionals relevant and adaptable in the face of technological advancements and changing market demands.
In conclusion, a mix of theoretical knowledge and practical abilities is crucial for success. When choosing a course of study or a career, students should think about how they could best prepare themselves to succeed in a world that is changing quickly while also earning a degree.
About the author: Pratham Barot is the CEO & Co-founder of Zell Education, one of India's fastest-growing ed-tech organisations in Accounts and Finance.
He is an ACCA member with an All India Rank 1 in Advanced Taxation. He started his professional journey with varied roles as an Auditor, Financial controller, and even as an Event manager. Right before his entrepreneurial stint with Zell Education, he was also associated with one of the Big Fours - PwC India.