The Gap between IT Education and the Job market in Nepal

  • 09/01/2016

IT has become one of the most popular choices in higher education in Nepal. There are more than 200 colleges providing majors such as Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Information Technology and Information Management, that will help students prepare for their career in the IT sector. However, one of the major issues are that these higher education institutions produce very few graduates that actually have the competency to work in the IT field. Only a small portion of students emerge as software engineers, and while the majority of the capable students work in Nepali based foreign companies, many move on to more second class jobs related to IT, or they don’t end up finding a job at all. Although IT majors are regarded as one of the best paying majors once you enter into the real world, companies are skeptical about the quality of the students, fearing that most of them are “degree only” holders and would fail to prove capable. Many universities focus mainly on the theoretical aspects, do not provide the practical training that actually would help them nurture the skills necessary.

The most optimal choice for the students who want more than their college education?

There are extra training classes available for those such students at so-called private institutes. A wide range of professional skill trainings are conducted at these respective institutes, such as programming, graphics and multimedia, web designing, web development and many more. These institutes are mostly located within valley, centralised around the capital Kathmandu. Outside the valley, Pokhara, Chitwan and Biratnagar are some of the larger cities where people are able get training.

There are various ways in which these institutes are conducted. Some try to focus more on the practical aspects, while some are just limited to theoretical classes. Most of the institutes require the students to come to the physical venue to sit for typically an hour and a half. One instructor will be teaching the course, sometimes demonstrating on the screen or asking students to solve the problems on their computers. The instructor reviews the student’s work and and helps out if any is needed. This routine is repeated daily, and in the process, leaving behind those who cannot keep up. What we can observe in this routine is that after students learn something new and work on a couple of problems in class, they simply moves on to the next topic never returning back to review that subject. All the while increasing the number of students who are left behind. Many institutes do not require the student to work on projects or follow up with extra assignments, therefore the newly gained knowledge most of the times gets lost.

Students are often not satisfied with the results, especially because the tuition fees are no small amount. Some students even say that these institutes are just money machines, where their intentions lie mostly in profit making rather than enhancing the student’s learning.

There is an obvious gap between what is being taught in higher education and the job market.

The suspicion from the IT companies does not add to the either. Institutes are currently the main player in bridging the gap between the two, however unsatisfactory a job they are doing. We believe that TECHRISE could be a force in bringing the education sector and the local markets together. TECHRISE focusses on quality learning and producing strong skilled manpower that have the ability to apply in the real world.

The digital age that we live in allows for numerous opportunities to learn and earn regardless of where you are physically located. The number of people gaining access in Nepal is increasing day by day, especially with the help of the major telecommunication companies in Nepal like Ncell and NTC. In 2014, the internet penetration rate stood at 34.09%, but in the following year it leaped up to 44.11%. Although not an impressively high rate, there is no doubt that more and more people are gaining access to the information and resources that the internet offers. This opens up opportunities to those who live in the remote areas in Nepal - those who have to travel for hours, sometimes days to learn in the institutes, or other educational institutions. E-learning can offer people like this who were physically and financially constrained, the chance to access quality learning. TECHRISE possibly could be just that platform that can provide youths with the chance to learn and acquire the skills necessary for employment -  bridging the gap between the job market and higher education.

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