Vocational Training and Skills Development

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The population growth of India has declined over many years, yet the labour force is projected to grow close to 2% or some 7 million or more per year over the next few years. Modernisation and new social processes have led to more women entering the workforce lowering the dependency ratio from 0.8 in 1991 to 0.73 in 2001 and is expected to further decline to 0.59 by 2011. This trend is in sharp contrast to industrialised countries including China where the ratio is on the rise. The low dependency ratio gives India a comparative cost advantage and competitiveness.

The Eleventh Five Year Plan has focused on developing a large pool of skilled workforce to meet the needs of the industry, trade and service sectors. For this purpose, a major initiative “Skill Development Mission” with an outlay of INR 22,800 crores has been proposed. The mission will ensure the supply side response involving both public and private sectors in a symbiotic relationship. An estimated 58.6 million new jobs in the domestic economy and about 45 million jobs worldwide, it opens a great opportunity to the Indian youth and the government and private sectors which must act in a consorted manner to seize these opportunities.

The Action Agenda

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Industrial Training Institutes

The Ministry of Labour and Employment plans to upgrade ITSs into institutions of excellence by investing INR 2-3.5 crores in each of them, establish new ITIs in Public Private Partnership(PPP) mode to empower the unskilled workforce of backward areas, setup new ITIs in SEZs, quadruple ITI capacity by encouraging them to run 2 shift operation and facilitate intensive faculty development programme.

According to Shri Harish Rawat, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Government of India, “We have to develop skill based programmes for the teeming population in the urban and rural areas. For this we have a target of opening 50,000 Skill Development Centres, out of which 5000 are being opened by our ministry. The courses for these Centres have already been identified. Apart from that, we will open 1,500 new ITIs and also focus on upgrading the existing 1,800 Centres so that they are well equipped to impart world class skills.”

With India’s demographic profile consisting of 550 million below the age of 25, it has the potential to constitute one-fourth of the global workforce by 2020. There is a need for a focused agenda for education and skill development to harness this.Statistics show that the lack of vocational skills is a major challenge.

NSS data (61st round 2004-05) indicates that of the individuals in the labour force aged 15-29, only two per cent have received formal vocational training and another eight per cent reported to have received non-formal vocational training. This figure is far higher in developed countries: 96% in South Korea, 80% in Japan, 75% in Germany, 68% in UK and even developing countries, 28% in Mexico, 22% in Botswana.

A part of the unemployment problem emanates from the mismatch between the skill requirements of the market and the skill base of the job seekers.In order to accelerate the course of development in the country, efforts have to be made to nourish innovation, entrepreneurship and to address the skill requirements of a growing economy.


Ministry of HRD plans to upgrade 400 Government Polytechnics, running all Polytechnics in two shifts, establish 125 new Polytechnics through PPP mode and encouraging larger initiatives in the private sector.

Vocational education is proposed to be expanded from 9500 Senior Secondary schools to 20000 schools, thereby increasing the intake capacity from 1 million to 2.5 million. All VE schools will get into partnership with employers for providing faculty/trainers, internships, advice on curriculum framing, skill testing and certification etc.

Community Polytechnics

Community Polytechnics have been designed to deliver the same types of courses in a community environment which are delivered through vocational education in schools, but the focus would be on the informal sector of the economy. Community Polytechnics have been established as entities within polytechnics rather than as autonomous institutions.


Ministry of Rural Development has initiated setting up of 600 Rural Development and Self-Employment Training Institutes (RUDSATI) throughout the country. State Governments and banks will collaborate in this effort and the institutes will focus on entrepreneurship development programmes for the rural masses.

Jan Shikshan Sansthan

Jan Shishan Sansthan was launched as an Adult Education Programme aimed at improving the vocational skills and quality of life of workers and their family members. Financed by the Adult Education Directorate withing MHRD, the programme initially focused on adults and young people living in urban and industrial areas  and those who had migrated from the rural areas. JSS has acted as a district level resource to organise vocational training and skill development programmes.

While looking for new TVET and Skills development strategies, we need to remember that in India, the shift of knowledge based activity has made an impact to the industry  in two ways:

  • Changing the manufacturing sector landscape so that some traditional heavy industries have shrunk considerably (e.g. engineering manufacturing) while other sectors of the manufacturing industry have moved up the value chain (e.g. electronic components and medical instruments);

  • Reshaping the services sector, particularly through the impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), leading to growth opportunities in both

This paradigm shift in industrial scenario has been reflected in the NASSCOM-McKinsey Report 2005 Projections which indicate that talent pool will fall short by about 0.5 million suitable professionals by the end of the decade and the IT and ITES sector will need an additional 1 million plus qualified people in the next five years.The Skills Development Mission of the Government of India envisages to devise a comprehensive scheme for developing diverse and wide range of skills for the youth that will enable the country to reap the scientific and demographic dividend.

National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS)

NIOS offers Open Basic Education (OBE)  programmes designed to bring students to Grade 3, Grade 5 or Grade 8 level. Its mandate covers especially designed groups described as girls and women, working men and women, scheduled castes and scheduled  tribes, the handicapped, other disadvantaged groups and rural youth. By assisting rural youth, NIOS serves potentially the largest group of new entrants to the labour market, a group most likely to find itself working in the informal labour market.

According to Dr Sitansu S Jena, Chairman, National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), “With the enactment of the Right to Education Act by the Parliament, introduction of NCF2005, and the introduction of the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) at the elementary and secondary stages, NIOS needs to revisit not only its curriculum on open basic education and other levels but also develop a system of parity with emphasis on vocationalising secondary and senior secondary levels.”

International Collaborations

The Ministry of HRD has entered into bilateral collaboration with countries like UK, New Zealand etc. for sharing the best practices and policy experiences for the advancement of quality assurance and recognition of qualifications. The partner countries have agreed to mutually cooperate and exchange experiences and information in the areas of designing of vocational education and skills development policies, curriculum development, delivery and funding mechanism for vocational education and training, leadership and capacity building among teachers and trainers, quality assessment of vocational education and mutual recognition of vocational education qualifications.

Recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission

Towards a Knowledge Society, published by the National Knowledge Commission consisting of compilations of recommendations on education, has put specific emphasis on skills development.

To improve Vocational Education and Training (VET), NKC’s recommendations focus on increasing the flexibility of VET within the mainstream education system. NKC has also emphasised the need to expand capacity through innovative delivery models, including robust public private partnerships. Given that only seven per cent of the country’s labour force is in the organised sector, enhancing training options available for the unorganised and informal sector will be critical for enhancing the productivity of the bulk of our working population. It is necessary to ensure a robust regulatory and accreditation framework, along with proper certification of vocational education and training. This will allow easier mobility into higher education streams, enhancing the value of such  trainings.

Knowledge Initiatives in the 11th Five Year Plan

Vocational Training & Skill Development

  • Launch a National Skill Development Mission with an outlay of Rs 31,200 crore to increase capacity from 2.5 million to 10 million per annum;

  • The National Skill Development Mission would encourage Ministries to expand existing public sector skill development infrastructure and its utilisation by five fold.

  • Modernise existing public sector infrastructure to get into PPP mode with functional and governance autonomy, establish a credible accreditation system and a guidance framework for all accrediting agencies, encourage agencies to rate institutions on standardised outcomes, and establish a “National Skill Inventory” and a “National Database for Skill Deficiency Mapping” on a national web portal.

  • Set up a National Qualification Framework, which establishes equivalence and provides horizontal mobility between various Vocational, Technical and Academic streams at more than one career point and a Trainee Placement and Tracking System for effective evaluation and future policy planning.

  • Enlarge the coverage of skill spectrum to 1000 trades, with relevance to our emerging needs while making a distinction between structural, interventional and last mile unemployability and correspondingly set up programmes for 24 months, 12 months and 6 months duration. “Finishing Schools” will be encouraged to take care of last mile unemployability.

    • Create a “National Skill Development Fund” imposing a universal skill development obligation on industry to invest in skill development of Scs/STs/OBCs/Minorities/ others candidates from BPL families – as their contribution to affirmative action combined with matching Government contribution.

    • Facilitate repositioning of employment exchanges as outreach points of the Mission for storing and providing information on employment and skill development and to function as career counselling centres.

    • Enlarge the 50,000 Skill Development Centres programme eventually into a “Virtual Skill Development Resource Network’ for web based learning.

    Other Training for Informal Sector

    Almost all  Central and State line ministries provide some form of training. They include: (1) The Ministry of Rural Areas and Employment conducting programmes like Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY); the Integrated Rural Development Programme, ending the Programme for Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA) and Training of Rural Youth for Self Employment (TRYSEM); (2) The Department of Women and Child Development which runs Support to Training and Employment Programme (STEP); (3) The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) which has 51 training centers including 12 village industry training centres; (4) Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust (BYST) helps unemployed and under-employed youth aged 18-35 years to set up their own businesses; (5) Entrepreneurship Development Centres which provide training in different fields based on the resource endowment of the area; (6) The National Renewal Fund (NRF) provides assistance to cover the cost of retraining and redeployment of employees arising from modernisation, technology upgradation and industrial restructuring; and (7) The Ministry of Agriculture’s Krishi Vigyan Kendra’s impart training to farmers, farm women, rural youth and grassroots level extension workers in agricultural products.

    Programmes and Projects for Underprivileged Sector under TVET

    Targeting disadvantaged groups means that measures are targeted at groups of individuals such as ethnic minority groups, the urban poor, women, redundant workers, the long term unemployed and youth. Programmes and projects have included language training, skills retraining and job placement programmes, enterprise training, micro enterprise lending programmes, etc.

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