How to bring skill training and education together to create employable graduates


Skill training, skills, education, employment, job ready

As per the Ministry of Skills and Entrepreneurship Development (MSED), currently, 40 skill development programmes are being implemented across 20 ministries. This comes out to 50 lakh students being trained annually on vocational skill courses either under State or Central Government schemes or privately. However, what remains unsaid is that the students still join colleges for degrees and vocational skilling centres for learning skills.

Challenges of skill gap
On the one hand, we have lakhs of graduates passing out from colleges with degrees and termed unemployable due to lack of relevant skills. On the other hand, we have many skilled candidates looking for employment but the industry still wants them to be at least a graduate.

The main question that arises from this situation is “Where do the candidates go?”

On one end, we have degree-holders who are unemployable and on the other end, we have our skilled candidates but without a formal degree. For a young country with possibly the largest number of job seekers entering the labour market every month, it is unfortunate that the education policy pays little heed to skills development.

What is the solution?

If vocational skilling and education integrate, India as a country has a huge demographic dividend that can create a huge set of skilled professionals and become the world’s skill capital.

1.Vocational skills need to be aligned very closely with the education system and needs to begun in the early years of Education.2.Every student should be exposed to few basic skills and few specialized ones which they can choose to learn as they go along the education path.
3.The initial few years should be spent in providing an overview and preparing the students on what skill sets they want and will be good at.
4.Gradually, teach them a particular skill over the next few years, such that when he/she completes graduation, they are ready for employment in the given sector.
5.Traditionally, we have been teaching mostly through classrooms but the methods of learning across the four classrooms – On-Campus, On-site, Online and On-The-Job should become the route to learning.
6.A schedule and structure for the duration for each classroom can be put together customised to the students basis their class, skill sets and background.
7.A national credit mechanism can be put in place which will recognize the skilling education undergone by the students parallel to their formal education. Not only would this help in boosting confidence in receiving vocational skill but also increase the social signalling for the training.
8.Updating curriculum, infrastructure and content is required to sustain the student’s interest in learning.
9.The teachers and lecturers in schools and colleges play the most important role in shaping their students careers. It is imperative for educators to keep themselves upgraded on the subjects and skills they teach the students.

What is the way forward towards a skilled India?

We often hear industries complaining about graduates not being job ready and academicians speaking about the nonexistent help of industry in preparing the workforce of the future. The best way to involve industry during the education of the students is to integrate classroom learning along with on-the-job learning.

This will provide adequate opportunities to all stakeholders to understand each other’s capabilities, strengths and help in overcoming weak areas.

Subjects such as Behavioural skills, Communication, IT, Teamwork, Analytical ability etc. can be developed from early classes for students and they can then be introduced to trade specific skills from class 9 which can be continued right through the graduation years and beyond.

Learning new skills and gaining knowledge is a lifetime activity. This is not something to be set aside for years of education.


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