Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Soft Skill or Soft Kill?

Image from the internet for illustration purposes only

Reams of research findings are put out every day that emphasize and overemphasize the need for Soft Skills. Morphed into Life Skills these days, these set of intangible skills  apparently provides the passport to a better job and brighter future.

Professional Colleges are urged to integrate soft skills training to all their students. Recently, when I visited a professional (technical) college in Tamil Nadu to talk about the Life Skills training that we offer, I was stumped when the College Training and Placement officer reached inside his desk and pulled out hard bound tomes: Soft skills Vol. I, Soft skills Vol. II and Soft skills Vol III.

A quick glimpse into the manuals had these classic gems of questions that we have all grown up with right from our school days :

What is Soft Skills?
How many Soft skills are there?
What are the top ten soft skills?
When was Soft skills introduced in India?????

As I silently mourned the death of soft skills at the altar of rote learning, the beaming Placement
Officer said, All our students have cleared all the volumes and have scored 100%. We are now going to print Vol IV !?

If this is the kind of response by some Professional Colleges to “Teach” soft skills to their students,
when will they ever learn that soft skills is a “Skill” and need to be applied in real world settings. Soon these colleges will be proudly declaring: 100% placement and 100% pass in Soft skills. 

I walked away wondering, after all the massive efforts to bring out bulky Volumes and reducing Soft skills to just another subject, whatever I wanted to passionately convey to the students is “Out of Syllabus”

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