ARTICLES SKILLS DEVELOPMENT FOR HIGHER EDUCATION Article:At a juncture when the percentage of employers facing difficulty in finding
skilled workforce is as high as 81per cent in Japan, 71 per cent in Brazil, 49 per cent in US, 48 per cent in India and 42 per cent in Germany, one wonders what is it that we are turning out from our universities and colleges. Even for India- the youngest country in the world, if the percentage is 48 per cent, it is an alarming situation, to put it mildly, because it means that half of our companies and businesses are finding it difficult to run their daily operations due to the lack of skilled workforce. India has the largest number of young people (age group of 14-25) and the highest global unemployment rate- these are pointers to the nature and efficiency of our education system. Against this, the job market is increasingly being redefined by specific skills. Nobody runs businesses and companies the way people did, let‟s say, 20 years back. The entire skills set required to work in a company that competes at the global level has undergone change, and education, particularly Higher Education, cannot afford to overlook the new realities of the 2nd decade of the 21st century. Across the world, skills development has been addressed with considerable seriousness. Sample this, according to figures of 2008, the percentage of workforce receiving skills training is 96 per cent in Korea, 80 per cent in Japan, 75 per cent in Germany, 68 per cent in UK and 10 per cent in India. Moreover, it is estimated that 75 per cent of the new job opportunities to be created in India will be skill-based. While the skills set has changed and employers look more and more for 21st century skills in the job seekers, it is required to take a close look at the academic nature of our curricula and their mode of transaction. It is not that we do not have enough degree holders in the country; we have a number of them but the world of business and industry thinks that they are not employable. Surveys and studies are conducted at regular intervals and it is reiterated in the surveys and studies that 80per cent workforce in rural and urban India does not possess any identifiable marketable skills. Against the oft-quoted figure of 500 million skilled workforce required in India by 2022, sample this: “Of late, employability of graduates coming out of our educational system is becoming a matter of great concern. I am told, only 25per cent of the general graduates across all streams have employable skills.” E Ahamed (Minister of State for HRD and External Affairs) Let‟s face it, we are not Finland that has more than 40per cent of its population going into vocational education. Compared to vocational education, our students are found pursuing degrees in colleges and universities of higher education. One cannot change that fact, all one can do is to turn this into an opportunity, turn universities and colleges into skills development hubs. Leaders of business and industry in India have regularly voiced their concern over the lack of skilled manpower ready to be absorbed in various sectors. We have the government intervening
Imagine what could be if we could leverage our demographic dividend fully. writing and arithmetic (the „3Rs‟). the better it is for the country and its growth. It has to reconsider its role in the growth and development of the country. Indian higher education is organized into „General‟ and „Professional‟ streams.2 billion people are in the working age group. To make it amply clear as to how Higher Education has got to address the issue of skills development and employability. Unlike the days of yore. Only 5per cent of India‟s labor force in the age group 19-24 years is estimated to have acquired formal training. do we have more choice than tapping into this small percentage by upskilling them in order to render them readily employable? In sync with this. Graduates now require the skills beyond the basics of reading. A youth seeking job in the market today is expected to have salient life and soft skills which he has no clue about till s/he faces an interview. the youths coming out of it would find it hard to claim a place in the world. it means that Higher Education in India cannot live on an ivory tower any more. only government agencies and system cannot accomplish this task of upskilling the youth. Skills such as critical thinking. the earlier Higher Education accepts this and acts accordingly. Special emphasis on verbal and written communication skills. In a country where there is a large dropout rate of children quitting school at young age and a minimal percentage going into higher studies. S Ramadorai. no better evidence than what Planning Commission‟s Approach Paper to the Twelfth Five Year Plan says: “There is a need for a clear focus on improving the employability of graduates. there is need to focus on the „4Cs‟. Skills Development is not an additional course that can be added to a university curriculum but it requires to be integrated into the training and education of a youth who will have to be readily employable and competent enough to run the operations of a company or business in India. Accordingly. collaboration and creativity (the „4Cs‟) are now important in more and more jobs. “60per cent of India‟s 1.” Let‟s also understand that in a large country like India.5per cent growth. our economy is clocking an 8. Advisor to the Prime Minister in National Skill Development Council. Despite this. especially in English would go a long way in improving the employability of the large and growing mass of disempowered youth. only 10per cent of the 300 million children in India between the age of 6 and 16 will pass school and go beyond.by establishing National Skills Development Council (NSDC) and several other skills development initiatives in the pipeline but unless our Higher Education wakes up to this and responds proactively. Private companies with requisite experience in skills training may also be roped in to expedite the process of enhancing the skills development of youth in colleges and universities. often fails to equip graduates with necessary work skills due to its poor quality. General education which is an excellent foundation for successful knowledge based careers. In today‟s world. now it should ensure that students studying in colleges and universities are equipped
. and thus the growth of this country will also remain under threat because without the requisite human resource the magic growth is impossible.” (101) In simple translation. particularly in India. However. the future and relevance of Higher Education is inextricably linked with Skills Development. Higher Education does little to address the skills requirement of a youth raring to go into the world and make a mark. communication. says.
Policy papers in India are beginning to show their commitment to skills development and employability through it but that is not enough either. These Centres should be endowed with the task of training each and every student of the college and university in terms of soft skills and life skills and prepare them for the jobs they dream of. Ideally. in a perfect India of hopefully some not-so-distant future. in fact. Ideally. the employers should come to the doorsteps of the university and look for these skilled youths.
. Unlike the existing model of university education. skills development may be integrated into the core practices of a university.with soft skills such as communication proficiency. Is Higher Education ready for this? This is the key question because the answer will determine the future of this country. The true reflection of their commitment would be when they make it mandatory to establish Skills Development Centres at university and college campuses and provide specific funds for the same. universities should buzz with skills training and the youths coming out of universities should show us the way forward. a youth completing his/her education should not hunt for the job.