Monday, September 22, 2008

International Conference on Soft Skills at BITS,Pilani

It was indeed an eye opener of sorts to attend the international conference on soft skills and present a paper.The conference graced by prestigious corporate professionals and academicians proved to be a hotbed for deliberating on lots of issues on soft skills.It was clear from the comments of experts from the USA, UAE and Indian professionals, that soft skills should be imbibed intrinsically into everything be it training on domain subjects, taking soft skills sessions or even any functional or collaborative effort in the industry.The conference was an excellent effort on the part of BITS-Pilani(Languages Effort)where people from various backgrounds could talk about their own perspectives on soft skills.For me it was understanding the present scenario existing in institutes of higher learning as far as soft skills is concerned and the important role my organization can play as a global knowledge transfer,management training and consultancy in value adding the endeavours of all institutes and organizations.I realized that our model of leveraging technology to improve the reach, quality, look and feel and the end result on the part of the trainees can go a long way in value adding as far as instilling soft skills in personality is concerned. The other major benefits I could clearly see is our knowledge transfer expertise would enable in formulating implementable soft skills strategies both for individual as well as institutional learners.
The endless debate on what to consist in soft skills and what to delete, is purely need based which has to be done only after a detailed training need analysis is done, however what I observed rather painfully is that most of the stakeholders involved in imparting soft skills training adopt a one size fits all.This culminates in the trainees understanding the soft skills in a piece meal fashion which in turn is negatively reflected in their professional and personal contact.Moreover, one way of imparting soft skills training has to be relooked every fortnight commensurate with the needs of different sectors as the business environment is highly dynamic and turbulent.Ingraining the same stuffs day in and day year after year does not add any value to the trainees as what is considered contemporary by the trainers, is looked upon as obsolete by the industry, entrepreneurs and job providers. A lot needs to be done especially on industry-institute interface, however kudos to BITS-Pilani to make the first move.
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shiprekh said...

Dear Mani,

Thanks for sending this link to your blog. It is a great idea! I agree with you, however I'd like to add a bit more to it. The focus of the conference to my understanding was to try and work out some strategies to develop soft skills in the higher institutes of learning, hence enhancing the employability of the students. The focus, by and large, unfortunately was on 'What soft skills are' and as you rightly commented - a one size fit all - modules. The 'How' seems to have got lost somewhere. Though the conference on the whole was enlightening for me, I came back with a sense of something left incomplete. I hope I am not offending someone by saying this.
But yes, kudos to BITS Pilani in initiating this. Lets continue with the good work! - Rekha Shipurkar

Anonymous said...

One of my friends who attended the conference told that 20 Sep 2008 Saturday morning plenary session at BITS was the best in which an alternately abled chap spoke and played the mouth organ.

Unknown said...

Dear Mani,

Nice to exchange views about the conference in this manner.The conference did draw attention to the fact that the area of soft skills is vast and ever growing. For formulating a program related to soft skills we need to involve people from field of languages,psychology, philosophy etc.However, imparting wholesome training in this area is not an easy job, it is a long term affair.I feel it is as serious an issue as character building and therefore there is a need to devise a long term strategy. For this at different stages we need to involve school teachers, parents etc.

However, the platform and opportunity provided by languages group BITS Pilani is commendable and has lead to some very fruitful discussions.But where do we go from here? What is the next tangible step to be taken in this direction to make it a worthwhile effort?

Ambika Sharma

duppalaravi said...

Yes, I do agree with Dr. Ambika. I too attended to this program. BITS pilani initiation is the praisworthy thing. We have to continue the spirit of it. Join our hands together to achieve great things!


Anonymous said...

My friend who had attended the conferece at Pilani also said that one Dr Natarajan Dean in BITS had in the best possible manner summed up in a few minutes what the speakers had spoken for hours. Any one who has his coordinates please share the same.