A conference was organized on the occasion of the first-ever Global Exhibition on Services (GES)on April 24 in New Delhi.
A conference on education which had the theme “Education & Skills – Connecting India to the World” was organized on the occasion of the first-ever Global Exhibition on Services (GES). A joint initiative of the Ministry of Commerce, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC), GES was inaugurated by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on April 24 in New Delhi.
During the occasion, Richard Burton, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Ireland and J S Deepak, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry stated that benefits of collaboration in education lead to win-win for both sides and it is essential to build deeper collaborations through exchange programmes.
Speaking at the conference, Vijay Thadani, Chairman, CII National Committee on Higher Education and Co-Founder, NIIT Limited, said India was one of the youngest nations in the world and it will remain so for a while. Nearly 17 per cent Indians worked across the world. The demographic dividend required a huge effort in education and skills.
Robin Murt, Chief Executive Officer, Technical and Further Education (TAFE) – South Australia, said there was an alignment between the objectives of TAFE and what the need was in India – providing stepping stones to students for a better future and delivering lifelong learning. He lauded the government’s determination to make National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) certificate mandatory for those applying for government jobs.
Earlier, Burton said education had been at the heart of Ireland’s journey from an agrarian economy to one which is led by technology. Investments in higher education and research have made Ireland one of the fastest growing economies of the European Union. Research funding is competitive and 30 per cent comes from industry. It also has entrepreneurship as a big focus. The government funds commercialization of research, it supports start-ups and builds the capability of entrepreneurs. For India too, education would be the key to making the transition from being a developing economy to one which is developed. He said technology was today playing a big role in every field but it was not doing what it needed to in education.
One of the focus areas of GES is education since India has one of the largest education systems in the world. With more than 50 per cent of its population below the age of 25 and 65 per cent below the age of 35, India has demographics on its side. There are roughly 250 million children in Indian schools. In higher education the gross enrolment ratio (GER) as per MHRD’s latest All India Survey of Higher Education (AISHE) is 21.1 per cent (calculated for 18-23 years of age).
Deepak said education was the most crucial sector among India’s services. The drivers for this sector were high skills of its people, its geography, its cost competitiveness and its high number of English speaking trainers, he said. These, coupled with growth of technology which had made distance education more effective, had the capability to make India an important global destination. He ruled the fact that there were various kinds of barriers in global mobility of professionals, including from the field of education, and there was need to remove those barriers.
On the skills side, the numbers at present are alarming. Out of a workforce of roughly 500 million, only 6 per cent has any kind of formal skills. The government target is to provide skills to 500 million people by 2022.