Honing the Skills

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Skill Development in School Education


The wave of skilling the young minds of the nation is taken up as the most crucial agenda keeping in mind the motto of National Skill Development Mission of the current government. But the point to ponder is how much feasible is the concept, stating that skills need to be incorporated into a structure where academic learning is more popular, is an upheaval task for the government to form a better educational structure especially for skill development sector comprising of industry-oriented training. Jessy Iype of Elets News Network (ENN) writes about the plan of action to making the youth skill-enabled

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The national skill policy, among others, devised in 2009 had set a target to impart skill development training to 500 million by 2022. The nation’s educational infrastructure offers a concrete system comprising of primary, secondary and higher education. The constitution of India had made education a fundamental right, provisioning free and compulsory education for children between the age group of 5 to 14 years. But as a developing country we need to build more skilled employees than academic ones.

Holistic Learning, More Skilled than Academic

The supply of public education is inefficient and leaves a significant shortfall which is being filled by private education institutions. The working age group between 15 to 59 years is the largest bulk, constituting more than 65 per cent of total population. In such a backdrop, 29 per cent of children are enrolled in private schools. In higher education sector, private institutions, colleges and universities are playing a pivotal role in the education landscape.

Sagar Sanghvi, Chief Executive Officer, Robokidz said, “Why isn’t education result oriented? I don’t think it’s the right decision they take, right from primary to technical education. Be it various aspects of skills, I am focusing on technical skills. Students who are employable are decreasing day-by-day. When a company comes to hire in campuses, they inform students to forget what they learnt in their graduation and focus on what in the three months of training will be taught by the company. Nobody is skilled enough to work in core areas of development. We have to skill students in higher education, who can run a machinery plan in a factory.”

Potentially the target group for skill development comprises of all those in the labour force, including those entering the labour market for the first time. The current capacity of the skill development programmes is 3.1 million.

According to a survey, two per cent of the country’s workforce is skilled which is much lower when compared to the developing nations. There is a dual challenge of developing skills and utilising them in a proper way.

Need for Strategic Roadmap

Skill development is associated more to the context of industry oriented training that fetch immediate employment and earning. In India, education and skill development sector is structured under two independent ministries.

“Skilling India, Skilling Youth, it starts with skilling the little one. It’s the vision of our Prime Minister to skill the youth, and its possible as two thirds of population is young and good amount of educators are basically involved in skilling the kids. We all know skilling is the need of the hour to get employment. Do the boards like CBSE or ICSE, have strategic roadmap to skilling children is the question raised,” feels Vittal Bhandary, CEO, Little Elly.

About 1.3 million schools operate in India where over 227 million students are enrolled. The figure indicates the state of regular enrolment in primary and secondary education levels. In contrast, the private sector has a much larger role in the education scenario of the country. Apart from primary education sector, private colleges, universities and institutes are contributing substantially to higher education.

Chinmaya Krishnamurthy, Principal, International Residential School, Coimbatore, opines, “Personally I feel skills can’t be taught. For example: An eight-year old girl goes to a new school. The child is asked to draw and colour a particular pattern. But the student uses her creativity and made a new drawing. The teacher scolds her because she tried to break away from copying the drawing. The moral is that we are just killing the art skill in the child. Tutoring can never bring out the skill in children. We don’t allow them to take risks at all. Education means going to good school, getting good marks and not skills. It’s high time for us to evaluate as to what is missing, and we need to shift from tutoring to intuitive teaching. The divinity in a child knows it all. Let them do what they want to do.”

At the end of the day, teachers are concerned about just running the schools, skilling for industry is not our problem is what most teachers think. We all say about skilling India, but, in reality it’s just lip service. The roadmap with regards to higher education is not there in the real sense because the government has started the wave so all are talking about it. It is necessary to strengthen a child with emotional and social skills


To Know it Right

Initiatives for skill development should be oriented towards both catering to the demand and creating the demand. Skill development is strongly related to the market and industry. Efficient skill development programmes will add value across wide sections of workers creating rich human resource. The need of skill development for employability is across every section of the workforce. From operators and technician level workers to highly skilled labour comprising of college graduates, there is a need for an effective platform for skill development. The initiatives taken by government for skill development are massive. However, the extent to which they operate is inadequate to bring effective progress to the lackadaisical nature of current scenario. This calls in for pervasive initiative by private entities through collaborated as well as independent works.

“At the end of the day, teachers are concerned about just running the schools, skilling for industry is not our problem is what most teachers think. We all say about skilling India, but, in reality it’s just lip service. The road map with regards to higher education is not there in the real sense because the government has started the wave so all are talking about it. It is necessary to strengthen a child with emotional and social skills. I have seen a boy who had lost his mother and his fellow students didn’t know how to talk to that boy or console him. They just said all the best in the end of the conversation over the phone. We need to equip social skills among the children in terms of life skills,” Lt Col (Retd) A Sekhar, Atul Vidyalaya, Valsad says.

Scope in Skilling

There is massive scope of development in education sector in India. Although a number of institutes are successful to be among top 100 in global ranking, deficiency is quite apparent. India should focus on a holistic approach to hone the human resource of the nation by implementing better solutions to reach out to thousands of villages in rural landscape. Leveraging private sector is beneficial since a competitive sense to provide service is inductive in this domain.

Harwinder Singh from EduPro Learning feels that it is necessary to have clarity of the skills learnt and taught. “Do we even know what skills to be given to the students to make them prepare for the industry seven years from now? We impart academic skills by default in the schools. Take for example, Does an eighth grade child knows what career will he chose when he grows up or for that matter let us take our own examples, what jobs are we doing? As teachers, we should congratulate ourselves for trying to impart those skills to children nowadays without a certainty of how they shall utilise it in their jobs in future.”

Bijoya Baksi, Principal, Navrachana School, Vadodara says, “We have a lot of clubs in our school. One of them is called ‘Tod Phod Jod’ club, where we enable students to recreate their mechanical creativity by engaging them in new machinery. Through their innovations, we try to find out how these measures give us a pool of talent, for which social, analytical, critical skills are necessary. As a school, we need to bridge the gap. Most schools have everything demarcated but we go beyond things as we give our students skill exposure. I think learning should be what makes them ready for industry, like communication skills,” he adds.

To realise the importance of skilling youth, the government has to put efforts to form better educational structure comprising of the industry-oriented training. It is the need of the hour to bring a change in the education format so as to impart skill development to the millions awaited skilled employees.

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