Proficiency in English is now considered crucial for customer-centric job roles. However, only a small fraction of India’s total job-seeking population has the minimum English proficiency level required for these job roles.
In August 2019, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) revealed that the unemployment rate in India hit a three-year-high of 8.4 per cent. According to the think tank, the unemployment rate stood at 9.6 per cent in urban India and 7.8 per cent in rural India during the month of August.
While more people are seeking employment opportunities, not as many are getting jobs. Buoyed by a multitude of factors like a low labour participation rate, increasing automation and a massive skillsgap, the job crisis continues to impact the Indian economy. How do we tackle this problem? Automation is inevitable across sectors and industries. It brings a higher level of efficiency, enabling businesses to streamline their operations, reduce operational costs and optimize their growth.
Bridging the skillsgap is the only way to improve India’s employment rate. Surveys and research reports have shown us that a large percentage of job seekers in the country lack critical skills for the workplace. The situation is worse outside urban areas, where 80 percent of students are unemployable.
Given India’s shift to a service-based economy in a globalized world, acquiring soft skills is just as important as technical skills. Regardless of the sector – from retail and hospitality to healthcare and financial services – strong communication skills are a requirement for even entry level positions. Proficiency in English is now considered crucial for customer-centric job roles. However, only a small fraction of India’s total job-seeking population has the minimum English proficiency level required for these job roles.
Improving English fluency in the age of EdTech: The emergence of language learning apps
Until a half a decade ago, EdTech was a novel concept in India. The idea of virtual learning taking over classroom learning was far-fetched. However, backed by improved digital infrastructure and rising smartphone ownership, India is now home to over 3,500 EdTech companies. While majority of these companies cater to students in the K12 segment, a couple of EdTech players focus on upskilling young adults by better preparing them for the workforce.
English learning through an app-based course has several advantages. In the past, people mostly relied on physical coaching centres to brush up on their spoken English. This was not only time consuming given the location of these centers, but also unaffordable to a bulk of the population. New-age tech-based language schools have broken these barriers. Through app-based self-learning, people can learn English anytime, anywhere.
Catering to college students, working professionals and even large corporates looking to upskill their staff, English learning apps have become increasingly popular in bridging the gap between language learning and employment. Some apps even offer industry-specific English courses such as English for retail, English for hospitality & English for healthcare.
App-based self-learning and online live classes are the key to addressing the lack of access to high-quality English language training. To tackle India’s unemployment rate and improve both soft skills and communication skills, a collaborate approach between EdTech companies and the Indian government is required.
This article is written by Arshan Vakil, Founder & CEO, Enguru