HOSPITALITY EDUCATION IN INDIA
India is known the world over as the land of hospitality. Hospitality means the relationship process between a guest and a host; it also refers to the art or practice of being hospitable. Today India is in defining stages of the business of hospitality, despite Indian economy being constructively better than other countries. The Indian Hotel Industry is emphasising its standards in the global context, as seen in the proposed investments by domestic & foreign players in hotel Industry in India.
The first hotel management institute in India was established in Mumbai in mid ‘50s, it paved way to an organised hospitality education in India. Later hotel management institutes spread its horizons in all major cities like Chennai, Kolkata and Delhi under the guidance of the Ministry of Agriculture. In the year 1984, Ministry of Tourism took over hospitality education and created an autonomous body known as 'National Council for Hotel Management (NCHM)', a nodal and affiliating organisation that monitors the standards of hospitality education and hospitality institutes run by the Government all over India under common syllabus and norms. These measures upgraded hospitality education and during this period many food craft institutes also changed themselves to hotel management institutes. After this many recognized universities in India started offering hotel management studies in their affiliated colleges as per needs of their respective region.
Customer service and customer satisfaction are now the key words for success of any business. Students passing out from hospitality institutes discover their importance not only in hotels, restaurants, cruise and catering industries but also in other non-catering industries like, retail outlets, hospitals, telecom industries, food packaging industries, hospitals, private banks and BPOs. Hotel management institutes are the only institutes that train professionals to understand and meet the challenges of ever changing demands of customer expectations in terms of pre and post sales activities. Hospitality Institutes have widespread contacts in hospitality industry to enable their students to get placements after successful completion of the course.
The entry of many foreign universities and hotel management institutes strategic partnership with foreign universities help the students to get quality hospitality education and undergo industrial training and project time in foreign countries that benefit them to acquire international exposure in varying ambiences.
Because of the high demand of skilled workforce in Hotel Industry now hospitality institutes have started short term course in all hospitality disciplines providing certificates in diploma and crash course levels. Today hospitality education in India creates good awareness among students that help their overall development of persona. Hospitality education is an education which needs more real time atmosphere to train and prepare students to shadow managers.
CHANGES IN CURRICULUM
Hospitality education is really a partnership between a student and a teacher. Similarly Hotel management institutes may be the only institutes that train professionals to understand and meet the challenges of ever changing demands of customer expectations. At present, our training and education is narrowly defined only as capsules of knowledge. So it is the time need for change to be brought in curriculum set up so as to teach the future managers in life skill education. Make them realize and believe in his / her potential to make use of their education rather than solely depending on education itself.
Globalisation and opening of the economy has made it possible for individuals and corporations alike to have unhindered access to employment and business opportunities available worldwide. For this reason itself our curriculum must be revised periodically and should be designed with the prime focus of future trends in hospitality. Such training is certainly going to focus on making students more proficient in handling real life situations immediately after passing out of the institutes.
ROLE OF FACULTY IN SHAPING YOUNG HOTELIERS
Faculty role is imperative in future changes in hospitality education. Teachers must be perpetual learners and be in touch with up to date trends in the Industry. In the initial stage, student completely depends on teacher. At that time whatever we are teaching are easily imbibed by young minds. Thus it becomes very important for the faculty of the institute to develop the caliber, skills and mindset to educate, train and guide young learners in the right direction and help them when in need. Exchange of faculties among near - by hotel management institutes enable students to acquire more knowledge from different sources that generate a sense of innovativeness and give them a feel that everyday learning experience is new for them. Faculty should keep good relations with hotel and should undergo training and visits periodically to understand the latest technology.
MEETING THE FUTURE CHALLENGES
Hospitality is a booming industry. But, many hotel management institutes were started with poor quality infrastructure and non qualified faculties. This has created a bad image among public on hotel management studies as though hotel management studies meant only cooking and not beyond that. Creating a fresh awareness among the public is very imperative at present to reconstruct thus image and announcing the resurgence of hotel management studies in some regions of India.
An institute adopting just information on the core department functions was not enough to sustain growth in this industry. Including business subjects like marketing, human resources, financial accounting, management accounting, strategic management and business law are equally essential. Institutes should realize the present needs and begin to change their thinking by teaching students to be multifunctional managers where the learning process begins with making decisions and then adding the necessary functional expertise. This change in the attitude of the institutes shall result in producing quality manpower for hospitality and allied industries.
Including research work in hospitality education may encourage the students to explore many new things and create forward – thinking among them. The bottom line for the next generation of hospitality professionals shall be that “innovation is paramount”. Stale ideas and outdated skills will not be able to keep pace; leaders need to be nimble to anticipate change and respond to the twists and turns of this rapidly evolving industry.
Preparing an ideal candidate to the requirement of industry is foremost in challenges of future hospitality education. An ideal candidate needs to be a technologist who knows how to use various machines, equipment, processes, information and ways of doing business. As well candidate may have exceptional communication skills, ability to work in a team, and a thirst for knowledge.
INDUSTRY APPROACH IN HOSPITALITY EDUCATION
Hotel Industry should adopt near by hotel management institutes and send experts to institutes for training students and faculty which may help in the revision of curriculum as per industry needs and be able to provide expert manpower to the industry.
Industry may include the adopted hotel management institutes for consultancy activities and give space to the learners for research work through training and guidance.
Industry may help the students in placement by conducting job fairs and organizing competitions to exhibit their talents and ideas
Industry may also help in giving focus on skill training on topics like food production, cost control, layout and design, front office management, food and beverage management, catering sales, merchandising and accounting. We cannot deny the fact that no amount of practical input in campus can meet up to the practical inputs one may gain by actually training in the industry. This is where the hotels need to contribute their bit. They need to be more open to accepting trainees and willing to share their expertise and knowledge with them rather than considering them a hindrance to their daily work. They must realise that these trainees are the future “value added managers” they may be looking for.
Quality education only would restructure the future hospitality education. It has to be a joint operation by both hospitality industry and the institutes to strengthen it and it is apparent that our training institutes as well as the industry must review the scope and content of the education imparted currently to its students and professionals.