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‘Leave technical skills to training providers,’ universities told

Universities should focus on teaching softer skills such as teamwork instead of job-specific learning, a leading Indian academic has argued.

NV Varghese, director of the Centre for Policy Research in Higher Education in New Delhi, India, made his comments at the World Access to Higher Education Day conference, held in Birmingham on 28 November. Varghese said the argument that there should be a close link between employment generation and the expansion of higher education was an “outdated, outmoded theory”, and that higher education is not responsible for providing job-specific skills.

“It is not the job of the higher education system,” he said. “But in training and employability there are certain common skills which need to be developed, general skills which need to be developed—language skills, communication skills, working in teams, etc. These are the types of skills that the university system should try to emphasise, rather than job-specific skills.”

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