Skill Development: A Key To Inclusive Growth

Skill Development: A Key To Inclusive Growth

Enabling the next working generation to develop skills can reduce the current economic burden. When educational institutes take a step towards skills development it can reduce unemployment and underemployment, increase productivity, and improve standards of living. When skill development is undertaken with the focus on contributing to structural transformation, it automatically results in labour productivity, enabling public and private investment in education and better economic growth.
As per the Global Skills Gap Report, the Indian workforce reported the highest skills gap after Brazil. Currently, India has one of the largest workforces in the world. Nearly 500 million people are of working age with the domestic labour market being second only to China.

The India Skills Report 2021 found that only about 45.9% of young people would be considered employable. The number was about 46.2% in 2020 and 47.4% in 2019
While India deals with skills deficit challenges, better access to skill development opportunities can bridge the growing gap between employment opportunities and a skilled workforce.

Imparting vocation-based training by adopting the New Education Policy (NEP) will enable educators better to impart learning in regional languages as well as offer courses in imperative fields such as health care and humanities.
Literacy should not be restricted to education but should be broadened to the concept of skills, which comprises technical training, vocational skills, transferrable skills, digital skills, and other prerequisites of employment and livelihood.

When the honourable Prime Minister launched the Skill India Mission in 2015, under the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, it aimed to train over 40 crore people in India in different skills by 2022. However, the pandemic created a big setback. With limited alternative mechanisms of skilling, especially for those who did not have access to online education due to the lack of the internet, smartphones, and digital literacy.
In India, an average of only 4.4 rural households have a computer, against 23.40 percent in urban areas, with just 14.9 percent of rural households having access to the internet against 42 percent of households in urban areas.

India is slowly but steadily regaining its foothold in the skilling and employment space. The National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) has made great strides in offering prospects for employment of skilled young people.

By making short-term training (STT) eligible for apprenticeship under NAPS, the Centre has already opened a window for the training of candidates by industry under this scheme. Vocation-based training, upskilling with a focus on marginalised individuals.

It is also important for the government and universities to give specific focus to the domain of entrepreneurship in rural areas. The rural youth comprehends the functioning of their communities, needs, and challenges and want to stay home while pursuing such skills and related livelihoods.

Advanced skilling programmes for such livelihoods can reduce migration and increase independence while creating self-employment opportunities in the otherwise limited SEZs of India.
In January 2022, the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Indira Gandhi Open University (IGNOU).
This MoU was in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goal 4.4 and the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 for increasing Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education, including vocational education, to 50 % by 2035. The aim of this partnership is to create ways for work opportunities for the country’s youth and to strengthen their vocational and technical training framework.
Universities offering skilling programs should include multiple modules: A basic module for providing soft skills, career guidance and apprenticeship to help students understand the opportunities, their potential and their areas of interest. The advanced module should impart a special skill programme, plus financial literacy and entrepreneurship to get certified. This will build a workforce that exudes confidence, especially in rural India.

By: Dr. Amrit Das