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Skill Development 2016-09-29

The need to re-engineer India's skill ecosystem: Insights from experts

At the 9th Global Skills Summit by FICCI, industry leaders came together with policy makers and market observers to discuss the way forward to make India a skilled nation.

By Associate Editor
The need to re-engineer India's skill ecosystem: Insights from experts

Vocational Education and Skill Training in India is still at a nascent stage. However, the demand for skilled manpower is huge, and to bridge this gap, it is the need of the hour to re-engineer the skill ecosystem here. At the 9th Global Skills Summit by FICCI, industry leaders came together with policy makers and market observers to discuss the way forward to make India a skilled nation. One very important solution that came out was constructively bringing together India’s formal education and promoting on-the-job training and certifications.

A huge step in this direction was taken when the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship was formed under the Narendra Modi government. However, a lot still needs to be done. As quoted in the KPMG-FICCI report on India’s skill ecosystem, according to the ministry, there would be an incremental requirement of skilling 110 million additional workers by 2020 and to achieve this and reskill the existing workforce, the ministry has embarked on a herculean task of skilling 400 million workforce by 2022.

This is where the role of the industry comes in. This is where both corporate and edupreneurs can pitch in and in fact tap the opportunity. Speaking at the Summit, Rohit Nandan, Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, said, “It is for the corporate to take a resolve that they shall not take an employee who is not trained.” He also called for corporates to spend CSR funds on skilling their manpower.

Mohandas Pai, Chairman, FICCI Skill Development Committee and Chairman, Manipal global Education, while convening the session on ‘Re-engineering India’s skill ecosystem’, also called for skill providers across the world to set up centres for excellence and skill development in India.

Educational institutions also need to come forward and promote the idea of Vocational Education and Skill Development. “There is a wide gap between what the industry wants and what educational institutes provide. That needs to be filled,” Pai said. He also added that the perception that formal education is more accepted than vocational education needs to change as it’s creating a chaos in the path to develop vocational training in the country.

Educationists also feel that higher education institutions need to provide not just knowledge, but skills and soft skills too. AK Srivastava, Vice President – Competency based education, Amity University, pointed out that while there are 757 universities in India, only 27 per cent of those students are employable. He said that Indian educationists need to take up the task of marrying the demand for skills to the supply of skills.

Startup Village Chairman Sanjay Vijaykumar also pointed out, “The problem we face is engineers who can’t engineer.” He added that there is a need to bring experiential learning in education. An interesting observation he made was as to how education must deliver three things – knowledge to gain more knowledge, skills to gain new skills and experience to learn from experiences.

The KPMG-FICCI report on India’s skill ecosystem also suggests that India can learn from Germany, UK and other nations where vocational education and formal education go hand in hand.

India is slowly moving towards becoming a skilled nation. However, there’s need and opportunity for more skill training institutions, skill universities and vocational training schools. There’s also a need for corporate to welcome skilled employees more openly. As Franz Probst, Founder and Chairman, SkillSonics, puts it, “India has a huge potential in the vocational education and training sector.”

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