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Skill Development Initiative in India: Problems and Prospects 15 May 2013

Dr. Ashok K. Gaba

Dr. Ashok K. Gaba, IGNOU led the weekly discussion on 15th May 2013 with his talk on “Skill Development Initiative in India: Problems and Prospects”.

Brief History

In the pre-independence era skill was usually transferred from father to son. Gandhiji had the idea that work and knowledge must never be separate. After independence, a number of committees and commissions came into the vocational education system. National Policy of Education (1968) by Kothari commission and Central advisory board of education in 1975, which adopted the 10+2+3 pattern of education are notable in this respect. The focus of such initiatives was to build a sustainable skill based education system.

Present scenario

Only 5% of students in India take up vocational education. This is quite low compared to other Asian countries such as China, Malaysia etc. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh puts a huge focus on vocational education. The National Knowledge Commission and the Planning Commission states lack of skill to be a major hurdle in all economic development.

National Policy on Skill Development, 2009 aims to train 500 million people by 2022 by empowering all individuals through improved skills, knowledge and nationally and internationally recognised qualifications to gain access to decent employment and ensure India's competitiveness in global market. It also aims to increase produce workforce in organised and unorganised sectors especially among youth, women, disables, disadvantage sections.

Out of this 500 million, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) will train 150 million, Ministry of Labour will train 100 million, MHRD 50 million and the rest 230 million shall be trained by 21 ministries, departments and various other organisations.

Majority of educated and uneducated job seekers in rural and urban areas have no skills. 90% of employment is in unorganised sector. By 2020, 220 million students will pass out from school - out of which 150 mill will not enroll for college education; they need training in vocational trade. There are three kinds of target groups here -

Dr. Ashok K. Gaba
  • No formal qualification but have skill.
  • Have formal qualification but no skill.
  • Have both, but need to upgrade skill.

Government has identified some priority areas in vocational courses such as Auto, Organised Retail, Textiles, IT, ITES etc. Recently cabinet has approved setting up of an autonomous body called National Skill Development Agency by merging the Prime Minister’s National Council on Skill Development, National Skill Development coordination board and Office of Advisor to PM on Skill Development, which will have major focus in the above areas.

IGNOU is a pioneer in providing distance vocational education courses in India.