India has been a bustling centre of so much youth and intellect since time immemorial. From a son of a farmer to the great kings that have ruled this nation, everybody started young. The fact that the youth of a nation are its ultimate backbone is not up for debate. The undying determination of today’s youth topped with the appropriate skill set will change the country’s future forever.
India’s gross enrolment ratio in higher education has risen from 19.4 to 25.8 per cent between 2010 and 2018. While it is a reason to celebrate, it also brings with it a concern about unemployment because of an evident lack of skills.
We as a community are standing at the border of a fourth industrial revolution which will bring life-altering changes and amends. That extra nudge required to accept these changes and an unavoidable revolution is given by the youth of this country.
Need of the hour:
In a study conducted recently by the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Development, only 40 skill development programs have been taken up by 20 ministries. Annually 50 lakh students have been training in vocational course institutes under government schemes. The skill gap is an issue of massive concern as students are not being trained for the skills required for the workplace. India’s employment scale has been an unbalanced one with degree holders not having skills for a job and job seekers having no degree but efficient skills for the job. For an economy so big, diverse and with the highest number of job seekers, unfortunately, the existing education schemes pay no heed to the skill set development. Probably one of the best examples to understand this situation better is the condition of engineering graduates across the nation. With the introduction of new roles and responsibilities in the technical sector, engineering employment rates have dropped to 80% of the graduates being unemployed. A recent study estimated that more than half of the 4 million engineers in tech will need to be re-skilled to relevant to the industry. This goes to show how important it is for us to eliminate this skill gap that is affecting the Indian economy and the job sector.
Overcoming the skill gap:
There is a mismatch between the skills required in the work field and what is being learnt in schools and colleges. This once again brings us to the most important misconception between learning and education. Entrepreneurship and Make in India campaigns have been creating awareness on how skills are something that makes an economy self-sustainable. India has an added advantage of a demographic dividend where more than half of its population is in the working age. According to a recent FICCI report, India has around 5.5 million people enrolled in vocational courses falling behind China which a whopping 90 million people in vocational courses.
The creation of a dedicated for developing a skill-set, Ministry of Skills Development & Entrepreneurship is a very important step towards the common interest of making in India. Here are some ways we can begin honing the skills of young India.
- Vocational training early on. Schools need to rethink the curriculum in a way that benefits skill development.
- Exposure to a few basic skills and then specialized ones based on the interest of the student.
- An overview of what skills are required and what a particular student is good at.
- Gradually preparing them for the ups and downs of the employment sector by strengthening the core skillset
- Ditching the traditional way of classroom teaching and an increased focus on industrial visits and off-campus learning.
- A credit mechanism can be added to the curriculum indicating the skill level of a student
- Teachers and educators should be updated about the recent skills required and train the young minds accordingly
Steps taken by the government:
Skills Assessment Matrix for Vocational Advancement of Youth (SAMVAY), in collaboration with the Ministry for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, has made sure students move easily from the education sector to the skilling sector. One of many other initiatives towards this objective is providing fellowships and scholarships to the socially backward students and promotion of research work and journal papers through the Uchhatar Avishakar Yojana and IMPRINT. Around 10 lakh students are to be skilled within the next three years, thanks to the HRD ministry.
Alternate career options:
The obsession of the country with mainstream courses like engineering, medicine and law is one of the main factors why students lack the skills and focus only on bookish knowledge. Courses in fields such as Hospitality and Tourism, Handicraft, Healthcare, Textiles, Photography, IT, Retail, Banking, Insurance and small scale industries can be added that would interest students are not in the curriculum and that is a major setback. An essential integration of educational and skill development is crucial for the future of the job sector. For example, consider a student opts for motor repair as a skill development course while in school, at a later stage, he can opt for a diploma or degree in automobile engineering. This way he will have the skills and degree for the job best suited for him.
In a goal towards becoming the skill capital for the world, Indian syllabi will have to go through a massive change. Preparing the young workforce for real-time problems.