The Disconnect between Industry and Academia: Who’s to Blame?

By | Editor

In today’s rapidly evolving world, the gap between academic institutions, especially higher education in universities, and the demands of industry in India is widening. This disconnect is a matter of concern as it affects the employability of graduates, innovation in education, and the overall quality of workforce development. Lets explore the factors contributing to this disconnect and examine who bears responsibility for it.

The Role of Policy Makers

One of the primary factors contributing to the disconnect between industry and academia in India is the influence of policy makers, often bureaucrats with a limited vision of education. These policymakers tend to view education through a narrow academic lens, resulting in outdated curricula that fail to keep pace with the rapidly changing job market and workplace demands. The fixation on conformity stifles innovation and hampers the ability of institutions to adapt to the evolving needs of students and employers.

The Need for Market-Driven Education

It is high time that colleges and universities in India are liberated from the bureaucratic control of the State Department. Embracing a market-driven approach, where curriculum, teaching methods, pedagogy, and evaluation parameters are determined by the free market, could lead to greater flexibility and responsiveness to industry needs. A more dynamic educational landscape would promote creativity and innovation, aligning education with the real-world requirements of the job market.

The Technology Gap

Technology plays a pivotal role in modern education, yet many Indian colleges have lagged behind in investing in infrastructure and technology. In an age where digital tools and resources are essential for effective learning, this lack of investment is a significant hindrance to bridging the industry-academia gap.

Theoretical vs. Application-Oriented Education

While the world is shifting towards application-oriented education, the Indian curriculum remains heavily focused on theory. This mismatch between what students learn and what employers require further deepens the divide between academia and industry. The evaluation system also tends to prioritize theoretical knowledge over practical skills, hindering graduates’ ability to excel in the workplace.

Lack of Research and Case Studies

India lags in producing world-class research papers due to inadequate funding and a lack of focus on research within universities. The absence of a substantial repository of case studies also limits the practical relevance of the education provided. Both factors contribute to the growing disconnect between academia and industry, as research and real-world application are essential for progress.

Quantity vs. Quality

Many Indian educational institutions overload students with a vast number of subjects, with some MBA programs offering an excessive 42-45 subjects in a two-year degree. In contrast, European and Western counterparts offer fewer subjects but with a stronger emphasis on depth and quality. This pursuit of quantity over quality detracts from the value of education and fosters an unhealthy competition among colleges.

Commercialization of Education

Education has transitioned from a noble profession to a commercial business venture for many universities and institutions in India. Profit-focused leadership often prioritizes return on investment over the quality of education, leading to rising education costs and an increasing burden on students from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

The Faculty Challenge

Low pay remuneration, bureaucratic practices, and administrative burdens deter talented professionals from joining the faculty. As a result, universities often attract those who couldn’t find employment elsewhere or retired corporate professionals seeking a second career. This faculty quality issue hampers innovation and the development of industry-relevant curriculum.


The disconnect between industry and academia in India is a complex issue with multiple stakeholders involved. While policy makers, bureaucracy, and educational institutions all play a part, a collaborative effort is needed to bridge this gap effectively. It is imperative that Indian education undergoes reforms that prioritize market-driven, application-oriented, and technology-infused learning. At the same time, policy makers, educators, and industry leaders must work together to ensure that education serves the best interests of students and society, rather than being driven solely by profit motives. Only by addressing these issues collectively can India build a stronger, more industry-responsive education system that benefits all.

Republished with permission and originally published at Ramesh Ranjan’s LinkedIn

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