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Analysis of Kurukshetra Magazine: Skilling in India


  • India has set an ambitious goal of becoming a $5 trillion economy. One of the pillars of such a transformation is its youth power.
  • With nearly two-thirds of its population in the working-age group, India could benefit immensely from this demographic dividend provided the youth are empowered with the right skills.
  • At present, 55.8 per cent of the Indian population is in the working-age group of 20-59 years which will peak at 58.9 per cent in 2041.
  • India’s working-age population is projected to grow by roughly 9.7 million per year during the decade 2021-31 and 4.2 million per year between 2031-41.
  • The year 2014 marks an important milestone in the Indian skilling evolution when a dedicated ministry for skilling {MSDE}was launched – a vision to transform India into the skill capital of the world was set.
  • Skill India mission and the recently launched National Education Policy 2020, with their several innovations and bold reforms, are concrete steps in this direction.
  • The integration of vocational education with school and higher education and skilling in futuristic technologies will play a defining role in creating a highly-skilled workforce which will make India Aatma Nirbhar.

The tradition of Skilling in India

  • India has been a country of skilled men, women and craftspersons throughout its history.
  • There is enough evidence in the form of manuscripts and archaeological excavations which highlight the high quality of craftsmanship that existed in the country.
  • An elaborate system of vocational system of education flourished wherein master craftsmen and artisans taught their skills to students who worked as an apprentice under them.
  • An equal emphasis on vocational education was at the core of the teaching and learning at the world-renowned universities of Takshashila and Nalanda.
  • Ancient Indian literary works such as Banabhatta’s Kadambari described a good education as knowledge of the 64 Kalaas or arts.
  • The very idea that all branches of creative human endeavour, including mathematics, science, vocational subjects, professional subjects, and soft skills should be considered ‘arts’ has distinctly Indian origins.
  • This notion of ‘knowledge of many arts’ or what in modern times is often called the ‘liberal arts? has been integral to the Indian Education system.

What is Nai Talim philosophy and Wardha model of development propounded by Gandhiji?

  • Nai Talim or Basic Education considered knowledge and work as inseparable entities.
  • It challenged the distinction between ‘manual work’ and ‘intellectual work’ that existed in society.
  • It propounded a holistic education where the body, mind, and soul were given equal importance.
  • Education through craft became the central pivot for Nai Talim’s form of education to develop a child as a physically fit, intellectually sound, and skilled human whose learned and lived experiences converged.
  • Wardha Scheme of Basic Education (1937) provided for free and compulsory education in mother tongue.

Why Skill Development is an issue of utmost importance?

  • As per a 2014 government report, India faced a shortage of well-trained, skilled workers.
  • It was estimated that only 2.3 per cent of the workforce in India had undergone formal skill training as compared to 68 per cent in the UK, 75 per cent in Germany, 52 per cent in the USA, 80 per cent in Japan, and 96 per cent in South Korea.
  • Large sections of the educated workforce have little or no job skills, making them largely unemployable.
  • 62 per cent of the Indian population is in the working-age group (15-59 years) and as highlighted earlier, India has a limited window of opportunity till 2041 to harness this youthful energy and reap the dividends of its favourable demography for accelerated economic growth.
  • It was in this background that the Government of India created a dedicated ministry for skill development and Entrepreneurship in November 2014.

How Skill India Mission proved a Game Changer?

  • The Skill India Mission also known as National Skill Development Mission was created to rapidly scale up skill development efforts in India, by creating an end-to-end, outcome-focused implementation framework, which aligns demands of the employers for a well-trained skilled workforce with aspirations of Indian citizens for sustainable livelihoods.
  • The Mission is directly chaired by the Prime Minister of India within the spirit of cooperative federalism.
  • The Mission has taken a systemic approach towards skill development and is responsible for convergence in skill development efforts between the Centre and States on the one hand and the industry needs and aspirations of the youth on the other.
  • The mission took several innovative steps to bridge the gap between the skills that the industries needed and what was being offered in various skill training institutes in the country.
  • The mission gave a boost to the National Skill Development Corporation which was set up as a not-for-profit public limited company in a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model.
  • The Government of India through the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) holds 49 per cent of the share capital of NSDC, while the private sector has 51 per cent of the share capital.
  • This model helped in bringing private sector expertise and industry insights for developing a skilled workforce.
  • The Government of India prepared the National Policy on Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, 2015 which recommended the creation of Sector Skill Councils (SSCs).
  • SSCs are professional standard-setting and capacity-building bodies comprising of representatives from public and private industries for various sectors.
  • A National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) has been created which organises qualifications according to a series of levels of knowledge, skills, and aptitude.
  • These levels are defined in terms of learning outcomes.

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)

  • 1.0 was launched in 2015 to encourage and promote skill development in the country by providing free short duration skill training and incentivising this by providing monetary rewards to youth for skill certification.
  • PMKVY 2.0 was launched from 2016-2020. It expanded the scope of skill development initiatives by certifying people who had skills but were not recognised.
  • This Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) initiative helped many skilled people in getting certified and getting jobs.
  • PMKVY was further expanded through version 3.0 which focuses on Aatma Nirbhar Bharat by offering skilling courses in Industry 4.0 and high-end skills.
  • It also uses the ‘vocal for local’ strategy in skilling by leveraging the expertise of District Skill Committees for decentralised projection of demands of specific skills and planning to fulfil the skill gap.

National Education Policy 2020 and Skill Development

  • NEP-2020 aims to expose 50 per cent of the learners in school and higher education to vocational education by 2025.
  • The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 envisages curriculum integration of essential subjects and schemes in all schools and higher education institutions in a phased manner.
  • As per the said policy, vocational education will start in school from the 6th grade and will include internships.
  • Industrial Training Institutes (ITI)/ Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKK) will be leveraged as the hub of vocational education and training (VET); schools will access the skill training from this hub as individual spokes.
  • With this synergy, the school students would be exposed to the wide range of possibilities available in the world of work in their respective fields and learn on latest technologies available in the ITIs
  • ‘Lok Vidya’, i.e., important vocational knowledge developed in India, will be made accessible to students through integration into vocational education courses Higher Education Institutions will also be allowed to conduct short-term certificate courses in various skills including soft skills which are highly sought after in the industry.
  • Every higher education institution and even every school or school complex will aim to have Artist(s)-in-Residence to expose students to art, creativity, and the rich treasures of the region/country and also train the students in local crafts.

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