Skill India

Skill development policy and mission

If India’s skilling environment matches global standards, skilled Indians will not only be sought-after by domestic employers but also in developed regions.

By Anindya Mallick, Senior Director, Deloitte India

World Youth Skills Day on July  15, 2015, saw the launch of the National Skill Development Policy and the National Skill Development Mission by the prime minister. The importance of skilling as a key enabler for meeting youngsters’ aspirations to improve their lives is embedded in the policy’s vision and mission statements. The vision states the need for a comprehensive ecosystem to impart quality skills to citizens, leading to sustainable livelihoods, with an emphasis on innovation and fostering entrepreneurship.

A lot has been said about the demographic advantage, with more than 54% of the population being under 25 years old. Many students discontinue formal education due to circumstances and compulsions. However, this does not mean they cannot aim for a better quality of life through gainful employment. Over the next decade, young Indians need to be gainfully employed to participate in the country’s economic development. To achieve this, it is important that they be suitably educated for employment as per their ability and aptitude. They need to be provided all support to make informed choices. This is where a supportive ecosystem for skill development comes in. It provides youths options to improve their employability.

The skill development policy and mission address this through various measures some of which are highlighted here:

• Change in societal attitude to vocational training as a successful option through targeted awareness campaigns, integration of skilling in formal school education, as well as certification and diplomas from skills universities and community colleges
• Recognition of prior learning based on skills acquired through experience, which can be certified and built upon to improve employability  
• Availability of quality faculty by making skill training a lucrative career with specialised institutes to train the trainers  
• Easy availability of sector- and location-specific skill demand- and supply-related information through a national portal
• Programmes like the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana can be leveraged by students to fund their training courses
• Proactive and regular involvement of industry in developing the curriculum in collaboration with academia, providing opportunities for apprenticeship, and deputing industry experts as part-time faculty, which is being addressed through industry partnerships in sector skill councils
• Industry recognition of certified skills along with the willingness to pay a premium in recognition of better efficiency and productivity
• Leverage modern technology, including online courses, virtual classrooms and animated content, to ensure quality courses and faculty are not restricted by geography
• Ensure skill courses cover the necessary soft skills, including language, basic IT and financial literacy, for job-seekers as well as for those who wish to become entrepreneurs.

While all the ingredients for skill development are part of the policy, the key to success lies in implementation, which requires co-ordinated efforts of all stakeholders comprising trainees, training providers, industries, sector skill councils, certifying and accreditation bodies, government and its agencies. If we are able to provide a skilling environment matching global standards, skilled citizens will not only be sought-after by domestic employers but also have opportunities in developed regions like Europe, the Americas and Japan, which have aging populations that will soon exit the workforce. The time has come for India to take its place as the skill capital of the world.

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