Pillars of Skill Development

There is a need for vocational courses in the country due to the widening gap between the job ready workforce and country’s current skilling framework. Not only more and more students are dropping out of high school and need vocational courses, the graduates produced are also not employment ready. A central model for regulating the framework for skill development has been formulated called the National Skills Qualification Framework. It would focus on the vocationalization of the school level teachings.

The basic responsibilities of the National Skills Qualification Framework should include providing multiple entry and exits to students, facilitating the migration between formal education and vocational education. It should also focus on engaging industry for the development of curriculum and assessment of skilled labour workforce. It should work towards developing certification and competency assessment framework to allow informally trained workers to either continue the work or join a vocational course to develop required skills.

The fundamental points under NSQF include regulation of the vocational system in existing schools and working towards enhancing it, establishment of new schools with vocational streams through the state government. It should provide required assistance to 500 schools for operating in PPP mode and include vocational streams. Service training would also be provided for vocational teachers and induction training for new teachers. Reputed NGOs should also receive required assistance under this framework for running projects that are innovative and focus on short term vocational courses.

There is a huge disconnect between jobs and skills when it comes to the situation in India. Many students are dropping out of school but at the same even people with relevant skills find it difficult to find a job that not only matches their qualification but also has proper working conditions. There is a low status of available jobs despite the various projects run by the government and hence it is crucial to identify why this disconnect in placements exists in the country and is so deep rooted. As of now, there is a clear need to implement a strict placement linkage framework that provides jobs in the country with a control mechanism and individuals trained for relevant jobs are able to take up those.

The unorganised sector contributes to about 60% of the GDP and a large proportion of the population is employed in the unorganised sector. It is spread over both the urban and rural areas and hires individuals ranging from labourers to farmers, artisans etc. This sector is characterised by a low level of efficiency as a consequence of low level of skill development and productivity. 93% of the employment in India is informal employment, with agriculture being the largest informal sector amongst others like building, construction, textiles, furniture and furnishings etc. Many individuals firmly believe that skill development in the unorganised sector would increase employment rates in the country. Almost 90% jobs in India are skill based and hence its very important to promote skill development and the government has realised that the unorganised sector has to be paid a lot of attention. Many programmes have been started by several ministries like textiles, women and child development etc to look into the training requirements of their respective areas like The Modular Employable Skill Program of the Ministry of Labor; STEP of Women and Child Development; Community Polytechnic Development Program of Human Resource Development are some of the programs that have been started. Even though this is not enough, it is a step towards progress but much more needs to be done by the government in this regard to improve the situation.

Women are an important part of our workforce and to accelerate the economic growth, the participation of women is very crucial. Unfortunately, the participation of the females in our population has been declining. It declined from about 39% in 2000 to 29% in 2010. Not only this declining participation is a sign of women opting out from working due to several issues but would also prove to be a waste of the demographic dividend since the better half of the population is not participating and the workforce is reducing as a result. Majority of women in India are employed in the informal sector and often lack skills. They are given job opportunities that either lack job security or do not pay them the required wages. It is true that female participation in the workforce would tremendously be affected by increasing levels of education and providing job opportunities to women that are equal in status to men, since there are many women working specially in the informal sector who get paid less for the same work that men do.

Vocational education is not widely accepted in the country and still there is a need to work towards its acceptance. It can be highly credited to the low levels of knowledge and a preference for white collar jobs amongst students. As a result, it is not seen as a substitute for formal education. There is also not enough evidence of job opportunities after completing vocational courses to provide students a sense of security. Hence it is not surprising that only 2% of students in India undergo vocational training. The government is not only working towards spreading awareness about vocational courses through various programmes, it is also working towards adopting international methods for ensuring skill development in the country. Many initiatives have been taken to work with the best institutes in countries like Germany, Australia, New Zealand etc to improve the quality of skill development.

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