On the one hand a large number of graduates who are churned out from an outdated education curriculum end up unemployable. On the other there is a huge shortage of skilled labour in various sectors. This divide needs to be addressed in double quick time. Chairman of National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) S Ramadorai, spoke of this at the second C K Prahalad memorial lecture. Excerpts:
India’s strength lies in its optimism. As new opportunities come along, India must think of new solutions to address challenges. She must embrace her human capital and adopt new strategies to do more work, with more people and for more people.
The need for inter-disciplinary courses should be fostered. The education system must bring out the creativity and the talent of children by widening the choices and the options of study. Educational institutions should bring out the best in students and create pathways for their growth. This is in line with three pillars of Gandhi’s paradigm where the focus is on lifelong education, social character and a holistic process. His perception of an ideal society consisted of small self-relying communities, self-respecting generous individuals living in a small co-operative community.
The restrain from manual work with development of new class of people has increased the problem of industrialisation. In effort to bring back the equilibrium, the government on its part has made policy initialisations for developing an ecosystem to foster skills. The skills council targets to skill 72.7 lakh persons annually.
Exciting phase of Indian education ahead
Our conventional brick and mortar educational system will be questioned. We need to work smart and plan ahead. Soon all courses will go online and be free. Special applications will be developed for the mobile platform to reach education at the hands of all. Pearson has recently developed a special app called i-lit which helps in education of people with disability. Tailored contents for individuals and close assessments are already in vogue. This kind of empowerment at the rural level will help transform India’s rural panorama. This will be the most exciting phase of Indian education and it will call for huge investments of time and money to keep up with the pace. Already seven IITs, NASSCOM and IT companies have joined hands to launch online courses.
Need for more doers than thinkers
Skilling needs to be done at a massive level. There are many models and many more may come. We need to embrace all models to achieve high targets. Either each MP can be given a target of skilling a set number of youth or universities should be given targets.
Now the construction industry is in dire need of skilled labour. They can join hands and in a concerted effort set up cost-effective simulators that gives labourers the feel of working in a real environment and helps in skilling.
High benchmarks should be set at all levels and skilling needs to become a movement that draws the youth into itself. This journey of empowerment will be self-rewarding. There are enough of thinkers, now it is the time for doers.