Skill Development : Empowering Youth
Once again with a big bang, the Prime Minister, on July 15 – World Youth Skills Day – launched yet another massive programme – Skill India. It included simultaneous launching of National Skill Development Mission, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) and Skill Loan Scheme together with the release of revised Policy for Skill development and Entrepreneurship 2015. 24 lakh youths are to be trained under PMKVY and 34 lakh loans to be disbursed under Skill Loan scheme. Speaking on the occasion the PM said that India can become the biggest provider of skilled workers to the world. Like IITs in the last century ITIs can acquire global recognition.
World Youth Skill Development Day
In 2014, UN General Assembly had decided to commemorate July 15, 2015 as World Youth Skill Development Day. “While, overall, more young people have greater educational opportunities than in the past, there are still some 75 million adolescents who are out of school, denied the quality education they deserve and unable to acquire the skills they need” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message for the day. Apparently, Sri Lanka had initiated this resolution, with the assistance of the G77 & China, to highlight at a global level, the importance of youth skills development.
The PM has often talked about our demographic dividend. It is a window of 2 to 3 decades during which proportion of workers as compared to dependents is quite high. 62 per cent of our population is in the working age (15-59 years). We have 60 crore people below 25 years of age. The number of dependents is thus quite low and further going down. Fewer dependents mean more savings, healthier women, more women participation in the work force, larger total work force, more income etc. East Asian tigers and China have reaped benefits of this demographic phase. It is now our turn. Since the window has a span of two to three decades we must gear up to make the most of it. There is going to be huge shortage of workers elsewhere in the world while we will have huge surplus. We may be able to provide workers to the other countries. Indians who had migrated to the Caribbean and African countries were mostly unskilled farmhands. Those who are working in the Middle East are also mostly in low skill jobs. The demand henceforth is going to come mostly for skilled jobs. With rapid technology up-gradation within the country, the demand for skilled workers is increasing exponentially.
Candidates bagged 1 Gold, 2 Silver and 3 Bronze medals at WorldSkills Oceania Competition in New Zealand
WorldSkills Oceania, which is hosted by WorldSkills New Zealand, saw over 100 participants from across 7 countries participating this year. These countries are New Zealand, Australia, Korea, Canada, Malaysia, China and India. This is the first time WorldSkills India has sent its contingent to participate in WorldSkills Oceania. Out of 14 candidates who represented India at the competition, 6 have been announced winners and felicitated with medals of excellence in their respective categories. These candidates are a part of the Final 26 India team which will also be representing the country at the WorldSkills International Competi-tion 2015 taking place at Sau Paulo, Brazil in August this year.
Although our working age population is more than 80 crore the number of workers is only 50 crore as women participation is just 25 per cent. But there not enough full time (273 x 8 hours) work even for 60 per cent of these workers, most of the other 40 per cent has work only for 6 to 8 months in a year. More than 92 per cent workers are self employed. What is worse: only 2 per cent of them have received some formal training. In South Korea 96 per cent workers are trained. Unskilled workers have low productivity and low incomes. Skill development is about empowering them with the techniques of using the modern technology across the economic activities. National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has made detailed projections of the requirement of skilled human resources for the year 2022. According to these estimates number of workers in the organised sector will rise (from 9.7 crore in the base year 2008) to 26.7 crores in 2022.Of these 11.2 crore will require vocational training. Similarly in the unorganised sector the number of salaried jobs willincrease from 3.5 crore to 7.7 crore. Outside agriculture, we may thus generate 34.5 crore new jobs by 2022 and most of them will be skilled. These estimates were made when nobody talked about 100 smart cities, 12 crore toilets, bullet trains or make in India. We may thus hope for more and better jobs than what NSDC has estimated. The 12th plan had set the goal of imparting training to 50 crore workers. Even if we add the existing requirement of 30.7 crore and the likely addition to the workforce of 11.9 crore, the total comes to 42.6 crore or 6 crore per year. That is a very stupendous task by any standards. Our existing capacity is 7 million around one tenth of the required that too spread across 24 Ministries and departments. NSDC which works through partner training centres has 211 partners with 3026 centres which have so far trained 52 lakh youths out of 23 lakh have been placed. At present we have around 12 thousand ITIs most of them in the private sector with total seats being less than 20 lakh. We need to not only increase the number substantially, we have to modernise them with addition of training facilities in skills with rising as also emerging demand.
It is understood that some countries have lists of three thousand training modules. Our ITIs deal in 170. Next, for each of these jobs we should prepare teaching and training material, not only in print but also in detailed tutorial videos. With due permission we may use the material already prepared by others as also the manuals brought out by the company’s manufacturing appliances and vehicle etc. These may subsequently be dubbed not only in all our languages but also in major dialects. Language and lack of reading ability should not be a constraint in learning a skill or trade. The revised Policy for Skill development and Entrepreneurship 2015 which supersedes the 2009 policy involves working on several areas such as Aspiration, Capacity, Quality, Synergy,Global Partnerships, Outreach and Advocacy, ICT Enablement, Development of Trainers, Inclusivity and Promotion of skilling among women. Our educated youth prefers a white collar job. Since there are not many of them available, he ends up being educated unemployed. Those who have the qualification and capacity may aspire for professional courses like medicine but a blue
collared job is considered to be below dignity and fit only for the less
educated. This mind set needs to be changed by making all technical and vocational jobs more attractive in terms of remuneration and prestige. It calls for a systemic change.
JP Dubey (The writer is a senior columnist having expertise on develomental issues)