Despite a robust private and public education system in place, India is still lacking in providing the youth with the requisite skills to be employable.
When we refer to Skill Education, we have to look at it from two perspectives-one where children and youngsters have been exposed to formal education and school and college level, yet do not possess the required skills to be employable and; second those who have never been exposed to any kind of formal education and need to acquire certain skills to be employable.
Understanding the gaps
According to educational experts, today, employers look for some mandatory attributes in their employees. These are over and above knowledge of core subject that a student may have acquired over a period of study. These skills include many attributes like good communication skills, positive approach towards challenge, general awareness, approach to lifelong learning, self discipline and time management, sense of initiative, sharing and teamwork, stress management and much more. It is therefore important that schools and colleges educate children and youngsters about these attributes that are paramount to securing a well paid job.
In India, both these categories in skill education are met by two ministries- the Ministry of Human Resource and Development and the Ministry of Labor and Employment. The former looks after skill development at school and college level while the latter caters to industry oriented training and education. Owing to the fact that almost 60 percent of skilled jobs are not to be manned by white collars, there is dearth of skilled manpower in the country. For one, a huge percentage of these citizens, coming from lower income groups, don’t have access to any form of formal education; and even if they have, they are not able to reach the senior secondary levels leave alone study in a college. The result is that psychological and sociological development is crippled much before time.
India’s economy is growing and needs its workforce to be quickly trained across all levels, whether it is a white collar job or that held by the rust collar worker, linking these citizens to ideal job opportunities and market scenario.
The fact of the matter is even before enrollment acquirement of any vocational skill needs a certain level of educational qualification. This is indeed a dampener for many hopeful youth, men and women who may never have had an exposure to formal schooling. Narendra Modi’s promising Skill India project was started precisely to bridge this gap, but has not garnered much appreciation. The hiccups in implementation have been evident and the results have seen sluggish increase in number of employable manpower. To add to this challenge are others of misconceptions reeling around the aspect of taking up a vocational skill as a profession. For one, it is awarded a lowly status in the hierarchy of jobs; for another, there is an ideology that such jobs are fit for school and college dropouts. Also, popular thought is that such jobs befit those who low learning capacities. The result is that vocational training does not get its due and is a neglected aspect of skill development effort in India.
There is an urgent need to take this part of manpower development very seriously, unless we want to see a nation full of unemployable and disappointed youth. The Modi government has allocated a sizable amount to revamp skill development in the country but implementation is the need of the hour. Institutes and governing bodies must put special mechanisms in place that can deliver training and create more participation by women, including mobile training units, extension schemes, and in-plant training. Progress needs to be monitored both for men and women. Let there be training in non-traditional fields for women through various training programmes and pilot support schemes. Over and above all, there is a need to increase the volume of work-based learning and linking exposure of those trained with mentors and trainers, who are already experienced in the field of entrepreneurship.