Brush up soft skills at Madras varsity


byAmbika Naithani

The Economic Times
September 5, 2007

 Technical skills are important. But soft skills are also becoming critical in an economy fuelled by the services sector that has high customer-client interface. Madras University has become the first Indian university to introduce a mandatory course on soft skills for all its post-graduate students. This will cover over 1 lakh students in Chennai. And if all goes well, the course will be introduced and mandated for undergrad students as well. "The response has been very encouraging," said Scope International CEO Sreeram Iyer.

A brainchild of CII, the programme has received strong support from the IT and ITeS industry. A consortium of five IT companies – Satyam, Cognizant, TCS, Scope International and US Technologies – have collaborated with the Madras University , which has about 170 colleges affiliated to it, to start the programme. As of now, 135 staff members have undergone the training and 50 are in the process. Soon after the teachers’ training will finish, the course for students will begin by October.

Speaking on the development, CII chairman, task force on skills, employability and affirmative action, B Santhanam, said seeing enthusiasm and acceptance of the curriculum, they plan to join hands with other universities also. We identified the gap in skills and employability for engineering graduates in 2003 but put it in practice with universities now. It’s not communication skills alone but also listening skills, goal orientation and collaboration that needs to be addressed, added Mr Santhanam who also heads Chennai-based firm Saint Gobain.

The most striking feature of the programme is the incentive plan to motivate the university staff. For every one person employed by any one member of the consortium, a teacher will get Rs 1,000. Apart from making the course mandatory, both the faculty and students will be assessed by an assessment company – Merit Trac so that the effectiveness of the initiative can be gauged. This will help in launching this kind of project in other educational institutions also.

Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved.



0 Responses to “Brush up soft skills at Madras varsity”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: