Improved training and skill development is critical for providing decent employment opportunities to the growing youth population and is necessary to sustain the high growth momentum.
2. The National Skill Development Policy aims to empower all individual through improved skills, knowledge, qualifications, to provide access to decent employment and ensure India’s competitiveness in the global market.
The Policy focuses on creating opportunities for all to provide/acquire skills especially for youth, women and disadvantaged groups, promoting commitment by all stake holders to own skill development initiatives and most importantly developing a high quality of skilled work force/ entrepreneur relevant to current and emerging employment market needs.
The coverage of National Policy on Skill Development includes institutional based skill development including ITIs (Industrial Training Institutes)/ITCs (Industrial Training Centres)/vocational schools/technical schools/polytechnics/professional colleges etc; learning initiatives of sectoral skill development organized by different ministries/departments; formal and informal apprenticeships and other types of training by enterprises; training for self-employment/entrepreneurial development; non-formal training; E-learning, web based learning and distance learning.
3. The benefits of skill development could be seen in placement of students of Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs). According to a report, most of ITIs have seen almost 100% placement on campus despite the uncertain economic scenario.
Talk to a cross section of ITIs across the country and response is the same. According to the report, ITI Andheri, Mumbai, or the one in Bhimavaram, Andhra Pradesh, say their placement has been 100%. At ITI Bhimavaram, 9 companies, including Ashok Leyland, Coromandal International, Hindustan National Glass and Industries came, to the campus for placement. Experts say increase in the interface between the companies and ITIs is also responsible for improvement in placements, besides improved skills. The report quotes the case of a student in the interiors of Karjat, Maharashtra, who after completion of two years of hospitality management from local ITI, has been selected for the Food Production Department of a reputed hotel in Mumbai at a monthly income of Rs.8,000/- per month.
4. Although institutional structure has been put in place, there is still long way to go. While skill formation has to be mainstreamed in the formal education system right from class X onwards, skill creation outside the formal education needs coordinated action and innovative approach. National Skill Development Mission launched in the Eleventh Plan has brought about a paradigm shift in handling skill development programmes, and has put in place a Coordinated Action Plan for Skill Development. A three tier institutional structure is already in place for the purpose. This lays down a solid foundation for skills development system in the country.
5. During the Twelfth Plan, gaps in skills development have to be identified and plugged, while building on the foundation that has been laid. An important tier of the Coordinated Action Plan for Skill Development, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has already made significant progress and bulk of such skill formation targeted particularly at the large unorganized sector will come through NSDC interventions and initiatives at the State level. For this, support to NSDC would have to be significantly enhanced and State Skill Development Missions in all States would have to be fully operational and effective during the Twelfth Plan.
6. There is a need for concerted action in several keys areas in order to ensure that skill formation takes place in a demand driven manner. Curriculum for skill development has to be reoriented on a continuing basis to meet the demand of the employers/industry and align it with the available self-employment opportunities. Accreditation and certification system has to be improved. There is a need to establish an institutional mechanism for providing access to information on skill inventory and skill maps on a real time basis. A sectoral approach is required for the purpose with special emphasis on those sectors that have high employment potential. Standards may be set by the industry-led sector skill councils which must be made effective during the Twelfth Plan, while the accreditation of certification processes should be done by independent, specialized agencies with certification left to the institutions. Skill Development Centres can be established in existing education and training institutions. This would ensure huge saving in cost and time. A system of funding poor people for skill development through direct financial aid or loan also needs to be put in place. Apprenticeship training as another mode for on job training has to be remodeled to make it more effective and up scaled significantly.
7. Finally, vocational education at the school level and vocational training through ITIs (Industrial Training Institutes) and (ITCs) (Industrial Training Centres) need significant expansion and overhaul. There is an urgent need to revisit the scheme for upgradation of governments ITIs as Centres of Excellence through the PPP (Public Private Partnership) to implement it more effectively during the Twelfth Plan. There is a need for establishing flexible learning pathways integrated to schooling on one end and higher education on the other through National Vocational Education Qualification Framework (NVEQF). Public-Private Partnership in financing, service delivery, and provision of workspaces and training for trainers should be promoted. Employment exchanges can be repositioned as outreach points. There is a need for removal of entry barriers to private participation, while putting in place an effective regulatory framework for coordinating the network of Private players, as also for monitoring, evaluating and analyzing outcomes of various programmes. All these issues have received thoughtful consideration during the Eleventh Plan; now operational details have to be worked out and specific initiatives launched during the Twelfth Plan.
8. The aim should be to increase the percentage of the workforce which has received formal skills through vocational education and training from 12.0 percent at present to 25.0 percent by the end of the Twelfth Plan. This would mean that about 70 million more people have to be imparted formal skills in the next five years.