In this backdrop, the government us working on a new skill development policy to address shortcomings of the existing policy. The job market is a factor of demand and supply.
Demand-supply mismatch here is one of the biggest challenges India faces. A report indicates that there is demand in the job market, but unavailability of the right talent is costing the economy R53, crore.
Although India produces lakhs of graduates, the National Employability Report states that employability is a challenge with only People taking up jobs for which they are overqualified amplifies the demand-supply mismatch. The lack of skilled people is an overarching challenge, prevalent across industries, be it manufacturing or IT.
We need a three-pronged approach to address the demand-supply challenge.
We need a strong vocational education and training system, the foundation of which must be set at the primary school level.
In fact, China too has developed its own vocational education is introduced at the primary school with students in the age group of years. In India, in addition to specific skills, communication, logical reasoning and, most importantly, cognitive skills must be taught to the students.
Perhaps, this should be extended and existing infrastructure in government offices like post offices, BSNL, and even colleges and schools should be used for vocational training. The Digital India campaign can help in using ICT as an enabler for skill development, evaluation and monitoring of students.
Vocational school teachers in China are mandated to spend one month in the industry every year. This is an excellent mechanism to ensure the teachers are up-to-speed in terms of industry and technology.
This can be achieved only if we have a strong industry-academia relationship. How about getting experienced professionals from different sectors to train the teachers?
Perhaps, the companies can utilise their CSR spend to provide experienced manpower for training. Also, industry bodies should drive the syllabus both theory and practical training. The government could invite experienced and retired professionals to contribute in developing and updating the syllabus.
There are quite a few disparate skill development efforts carried out in the country.
We already have thousands of ITIs, engineering and diploma colleges. Finally, the government should work with the Industry bodies and identify top 5 sectors and provide the necessary push for implementation. Based on the outcome of these skill development programs, additional sectors can be added.
Can the government publish quarterly data on the exact number of people reskilled, job positions filled and a view of the demand for at least months? How about focusing on agriculture for skill development, productivity improvements and innovation?
Summing up, the success of skill development will be measured based on jobs created. Prioritising sectors for skill development and rationalising existing systems to create a robust demand-supply matching and monitoring system is urgently needed.
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