The Head of School of Hospitality and Tourism, Bahra University, Shimla elaborates on closing the gaps between industry and academia…
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The prehistoric gypsies traversed continents in search of food and shelter and it took a lot of time to cross the geographic boundaries. However, with advancement in mode of transport, travelling now is fun, easier and affordable. Hotels came up with the search for the need of food and shelter which played a major role in the challenge for provision of safe and secure night stay. In the initial days, there were Inns, Hostelries, Taverns and the likes providing accommodation to the rich and poor alike on payment or on barter basis.
Industry – academia gap
The development of hotels witnessed a paradigm shift with the advancement in technology, the shrinking of the world travel time and promotions through the world of Information Technology. Virtual networks, the use of Artificial Intelligence and the self-operating kiosks all have brought the world of hospitality operations to a new rostrum.
However, with all these developments in the operations part, the academics has seen a left-out scenario. There has been a gap in the requirements of the industry and the education provided by the institutes. The reasons may vary - financial inadequacy, technological weakness, shortage of competent industry -- ready academicians, lack of regular faculty recharge and training programs, listless curriculum and academic monologue and above all the meagre pay package for beginners who are serving the guest with smile though being emotionally and physically drained due to the long and tiresome shift hours.
What are the industry’s expectations?
The industry expects pleasing, uniformed, courteous, helpful and loyal employees who not only serve the guests with the pleasing smile but also have tactfulness, diplomacy and decisive salesmanship in order to deal with varied guest expectations. They should be able to cater to guests’ requirements round-the-clock.
The solution to the dynamic hospitality environment may be the provision of facilities of more partnerships from the industry. Steps may be taken to provide an interface of industry at least once in the first year of the course to provide a gist of the industry’s operation to the freshers. There may be several other measures to fill the gap of industry’s requirements with that of the institute’s stock.
Need for hotel-institute interaction
There are many institutes spread across the country providing hospitality education to its prospective hoteliers. Likewise, there are many international, state-run and independent hotels operating with an aim to provide the best hospitality services through exotic food and beverages and safe and secure guest rooms, health and other related services to its patrons. However, the gap still remains. This gap may only be bridged with regular hotel and institute interaction.
The interaction may be through various above-mentioned measures which may be modified suiting the real time requirements of the industry and the government.
The industry will only prosper when it will be served with the skilled manpower, suiting its requirements. The regular provision of skilled manpower which is the requirement of the industry, is a rightful duty of the hospitality institutes.
Our institute has intake capacity of 60 seats for its Bachelors of Hotel Management course, 40 seats for its Bachelors of Tourism and Travel Management course and 18 seats for its Masters of Tourism and Travel Management course.
Measures to fill industry-institute gaps
Industry-Institute interface - a measure to provide a visit to the industry once in first year of academics to best hotels in the vicinity and providing an opportunity of tete-a-tete.
Adoption of meritorious students by hotels after their completion of 1st year for academic and industrial training and development, focusing on future employment opportunities.
Entering of Memorandum of Understanding between hotels and institutes for the provision of uninterrupted manpower supply during summer or winter internships and On-the-Job trainings.
Development of industry-specific course curriculum incorporating the latest trends in the industry.
Regular dialogue on internship progress of the trainee between training and HR managers and the training and placement officer of the hotel and the institute respectively.
Interaction of the industry professional, students and faculty members through External Practical Examiner System to assess the progress of the students on terms with the industry requirements.
Establishing Centres of Excellence and Innovation as partners for future developmeParikshit Sharmant, training and industry specific research project.
Development of institutional laboratories during refurbishments/ renovation regime of industry, thereby assisting in the provision of latest technologies and equipment for the institute.
Lecture or talks through industry experts for the propagation of academic inputs and industrial development.
Manager-Faculty interaction to deliberate on the industry advancements in real time and provision of situation specific solutions for academic enrichment of faculty members.
Organising regular training/workshops/interactions for the academicians to have a dialogue on the developments and assistance in teaching at academic campus or hotel campus.
Development of training modules through regular empathetic interaction of academicians and industrial experts.
Consultancy on various segments through research and development on customer handling, innovative techniques and guest satisfaction for better brand building.
Extension and sanctioning of industry based research projects for the development of teacher-student industry relationships.