Kindly throw some light on the role of Skills Development in India’s economic growth.
The focus on human capital as a driver of economic growth for India has led to undue attention on school attainment. India has been continuously working towards with its RTE and GER focus have made considerable progress in closing the gap with developed countries in terms of school attainment, but recent research has underscored the importance of cognitive skills for economic growth. This result shifts attention to issues of school quality, and there developing countries have been much less successful in closing the gaps with developed countries. Without improving school quality, developing countries will find it difficult to improve their long run economic performance. With a stronger focus on sustainable human development, equity and inclusive growth, education should be at the center of the international development agenda beyond 2015.
What is the current status of India’s Skill Development programmes and who are the major players in the country rolling out them?
The Government of India has set a target of skilling 500 million people by 2022. To be able to deliver this target, a structured approach involving all stakeholders is imperative. To this end, the Ministry of Labour & Employment has formulated a National Policy on Skill Development in 2009. The objective of this policy is to empower all individuals through improved skills, knowledge, nationally and internationally recognized qualifications to gain access to decent employment and ensure India’s competitiveness in the global market.
In a large country like India where 70 per cent of 1.21 billion populace is living in the villages, what challenges and concerns do you see in implementing skill development programmes?
Providing skills training to such a large population is a challenge: four out of five new entrants to the workforce have never had the opportunity for skills training. Developing skills is essential, however, for raising productivity levels and helping workers secure decent work. Appropriate skills policies can also contribute to more inclusive growth and reduce gaps between men and women, rural and urban areas, and organized and unorganized employment.
How have been the programmes across the globe so far, and where do we stand in comparison to developed countries like US, UK, Russia and developing countries like China and Brazil?
India is one of the few countries in the world where the working age population will be far in excess of those dependent on them and, as per the World Bank, this will continue for at least three decades till 2040. This has increasingly been recognized as a potential source of significant strength for the national economy, provided we are able to equip and continuously upgrade the skills of the population in the working age group. This is also known as the “demographic dividend” . India has done well for itself between 2009-20013 – by putting the building blocks in place – it has a National Skills Policy in 2009 (where as we Nantional Education Policy in 1965), National Skills Qualification Framework in Jan 2014, we have a agreed structure in federals level with the three tier structure supported by central ministries and state level Skills development societies or Mission which will further the cause of skills. Sectoral Councils for relevant sectors are getting formed and have started coming out with the Occupational standards . These standards will be the fundamental of all skilling delivery that will happen in India. Hence, getting these Standards accepted by the different agencies involved -government, non government and private sector is key. TVE&T has now been introduced in Schools-CBSE as well as Board of Secondary education (BOSE). Cabinet has cleared a 500 crore proposal to support the BOSE schools across India .
These initiatives now have helped India to start getting notices for the potential it offers. The actual deliveries and scaling exercise will start from 2014 onwards and next 10 years will be where India moves strength to strength . It will not be surprising if I am writing the same piece on 2014 and India remains on top of the pyramid in terms of numbers and initiatives.
What your company is doing in the field of Skill development? What has been your experience?
City & Guilds is a world’s leading awarding body with over 136 years of experience and operating in 81 countries . We represent 28 sectors and work with multiple countries aligning with the occupational standards with different country and also creating an International standards for equivalence and portability of skills. City & Guilds was looking at a long term engagement in India and had quickly understood the challenges and opportunities in India . Hence, we took the route of joint venture with countries’ leading education and medical group – Manipal . The JV is Manipal City & Guilds (MC&G). This enables to give us the ability to scale locally, bringing down the cost of delivery but retains world class standards and vocational knowledge and experience.
In India – Manipal City & Guilds (MC&G) focus is on three aspects : Services -based on its International model which focus on Assessment & certification, Quality Assurance Accreditation model and consultation . On the other hand, we have our Training verticals which focuses on Corporate, Government and Institutional collaboration for specific sectors and strategic areas. MC&G had initiated Joint Policy Advisory Group , which works closely with its C&G London Policy and Research initiative – Centre for Skills Development.