However, there are two priorities requiring action before the next round of India Skills is held.
Relevance : GS Paper III
Theme of the article
Skill India needs a sharp realignment if it is to meaningfully transform people’s life chances.
In 2013, India’s skill agenda got a push when the government introduced the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF). This organises all qualifications according to a series of levels of knowledge, skills and aptitude, just like classes in general academic education.
Pillars of skill development
There are five pillars of the skills ecosystem:
- the secondary schools/polytechnics;
- industrial training institutes;
- National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)-funded private training providers offering short-term training;
- 16 Ministries providing mostly short-term training; and
- employers offering enterprise-based training.
Efforts towards skill development
- Govt has mandated that all training/educational programmes/courses be NSQF-compliant.
- National skill competitions, or India Skills, is a commendable initiative of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE).
- Teams will be selected to represent India at the 45th World Skills Competition, scheduled in Russia this year.
- Abilympics was included in India Skills 2018, for Persons with Disabilities.
- Sharda Prasad Expert Group report submitted to the MSDE in 2016.
- A majority of the participants in India Skills were from corporates and industrial training institutes; only less than 20% were from the short-term courses of the NSDC.
- Neither industrial training institutes nor corporates’ courses are aligned with the NSQF.
- If India Skills 2018 was only open for the NSQF-aligned institutions, it would have been a big failure. This indicates that the NSQF has not been well accepted or adopted across India.
- There is no clear definition of the course curriculum within the NSQF that enables upward mobility.
- There is no connection of the tertiary level vocational courses to prior real knowledge of theory or practical experience in a vocational field, making alignment with the NSQF meaningless.
- Efforts to introduce new Bachelor of Vocation and Bachelor of Skills courses were made, but the alignment of these UGC-approved Bachelor of Vocation courses was half-hearted.
- There is no real alignment between the Human Resource Development Ministry (responsible for the school level and Bachelor of Vocation courses) and the Ministry of Skill Development (responsible for non-school/non-university-related vocational courses).
- There is a need for more holistic training and the need to re-examine the narrow, short-term NSQF-based NSDC courses to include skills in broader occupation groups, so that trainees are skilled enough to compete at the international level.
- We must a reduce complications caused by too many Sector Skill Councils (SSCs) anchoring skill courses. For example, there is no reason to have four SSCs (instead of one) each of textile, apparel made-ups and home furnishing, leather and handicrafts.
- If we want Skill India trainees to win international competitions and if we want competitors to come from schemes of the Ministry, we must find a way to provide broader skills in broader occupational groups.
- Sectors should be consolidated in line with the National Industrial Classification of India. This will improve quality, ensure better outcomes, strengthen the ecosystem, and help in directly assessing the trainee’s competence. It might also bring some coherence to our skills data collection system.
- India could learn a lesson from Germany, which imparts skills in just 340 occupation groups.
- Vocational education must be imparted in broadly defined occupational skills, so that if job descriptions change over a youth’s career, she is able to adapt to changing technologies and changing job roles.
Skill India needs a sharp realignment, if India is to perform well in the World Skills competition later this year.