The Union Government should take core elements of skill development from various ministries and pool them under single minister with a budget of about Rs 25,000 crore, suggested an ASSOCHAM-Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) joint study.
Despite establishment of a dedicated ministry, many skill development schemes still remain with respective ministries with Union Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Ministry merely being the coordinator, the joint study titled ‘Skills development in India-An overview.’
There is an urgent need to realign the skill ecosystem in the country to ensure quality, scalability and sustainability, more so as it is estimated that only 2.3 per cent of the workforce in India has undergone formal skills training as compared to 52 per cent in US, 68 per cent in the UK, 75 per cent in Germany, 80 per cent in Japan and 96 per cent in South Korea. The country is facing a paradoxical situation where on the one hand young men and women with higher education entering the labour market are looking for jobs, and on the other hand, industries are complaining of the unavailability of appropriately skilled manpower.
Though India has the advantage of ‘demographic dividend,’ i.e. large younger population compared to ageing population of developed countries, which can be cultivated to build a skilled workforce in the near future. However, the numbers to be trained are very large and it can be achieved only if we try to overcome the various issues and challenges that impede progress – demand and supply mismatch, employer’s buy in, scalability, inadequate skill training facilities, mismatch between youth aspirations and jobs available, lack of good quality trainers and so on.
Skills development is vital for India’s sustainable economic growth as such there is a need to work on many fronts – introduction of vocational courses at the secondary school level, making work experience a compulsory component of any skill training, giving incentives to industries for accepting apprentices for work experience, enacting a law to facilitate skill development at a faster pace, re-skilling programmes for the existing workforce and efforts to upgrade our skill training comparable to international standards.
The need of the hour is to synergise the efforts and resources to provide a feasible platform for vocational education and skills development. The ideal way forward will be to seek partnerships that will strengthen the process of quality and inclusive education, said the ASSOCHAM-TISS study. It further said that care should be taken to develop vocational education models that are sustainable, scalable and cost effective.