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Young India can become a Powerhouse with Skill Based Education Vocational development at an early stage in schools would definitely help provide a solution to this section of the masses.

By Suresh Rangarajan

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About a decade ago India's growing population was a huge cause of concern for the country. Nobody realised back then that the population could turn out to be the country's biggest asset today. With a size of over 500 million plus workforce, Indiais destined to become a leader in the global skills-based economy.

However, the biggest challenge that plagues the country is theshortage of skilled labours across all sectors. Each year over 60 million plus students graduate and more than 70 percent of them are left unemployed because of lack of requisite skills. This could be addressed by introducing a skill based training curriculum to close the gap between unemployment and education.

What do study reports infer?

A recent study by Man Power group suggests that 67 percent of Indian employers are trying to find skilled manpower to meet their requirements and the reason for this is the lack of employability skills,such as communication, presentation, interpersonal skills, team working, etc. Introducing employability skills in our education system, enhancing the students to develop work skills andbetter preparing themfor the job the market is a humongous mission that needs immediate attention.

As per statistics, 75 percent of India's population falls in the working age group of 15 to 59 years. By 2050, the nation's estimated working population is said to grow in excess of 1 billion in numbers which means more job seekers and a bigger employment crisis. Currently, we have only 10 percent of the youth population of India that possess proper vocational training. It is therefore necessary to convert the existing opportunities into a reality for youngsters by addressing their needs at a massive scale across fields including engineering, technology, architecture, pharmacy, management, applied arts & crafts. This could be achieved through vocational education. These courses are designed to provide dual advantage of education and skill development which will better career prospects for these individuals.

School Education in a country of 1.3 Billion

Currently, there are over 1.3million schools operating in India where over 228 million students are enrolled for traditional education. The need to include vocational programs along with the regular programs in institutions would have a lasting impact among people.

If one could notice,there are huge dropout rates in high school, with as much as 56.8 per cent of the students discontinuing from regular schools before even reaching Class 10 exam. What happens to these dropouts? This is something one needs to worry about as these youngsters lack basic education and the necessary skills to survive in society. Vocational development at an early stage in schools would definitely help provide a solution to this section of the masses.

It would be wrong if one suggested thatskill based knowledge alone is necessaryas compared to regular education. Any skills would have to be taught through a medium which would naturally include knowledge of the subject and complement it.Both together would benefit the overall development of the students to sustain themselves in the future.

How do other countries fare?

Globally these courses are highly regarded and accepted among students and employers as it provides them an opportunity to choose a particular field and master it during the course duration. Currently, Germany is the leader when it comes to vocational the training system and it is widely acknowledged that this is one of the main reasons that their engineering products are highly valued and their economy is recession proof.

Similarly, other Asian heavyweights China, Singapore and, Japan are all promoting the need for vocational training for better development. With just 12.3 percent of skilled labours, India has a huge need and necessity to act quickly to cope with and compete with global markets.

What is the solution therefore?

It is however pertinent to note that with the launch of the Make-in-India initiative, vocational education has been pushed to the forefront. The government has been trying hard to push these courses but have failed to find takers for them. Bringing in private firms to engage vocational education as a part of CSR could be a solution for the government to reach out to people in an attempt to promote vocational education. This could be done by providing private players tax concessions and financial aid. Students would benefit from these training programs as professionals from the industry would be able to train and mould them according to the global trends. Companies would also be able to hire potential jobseekers directly from these programs.

India has always been known for producing excess number of engineers and doctors this is because of the false assumptions people hold as these are high paying careers. Pride is something that has always been associated with Indian families when it comes to choosing a course, peer-pressure and lack of awareness hasalso affected the youths in the country. Not many are aware that a recent study suggested that students opting for the vocational ITI course have seen an almost 100 percent placement on campus despite the uncertain economic scenario. There isa wrong notion in the minds of the people about vocational education programmes, as many feel these courses onlyare opted by school dropouts or students who are academically poor.

The society has to agree that skill based education is not a choice anymore but a need that could answer India's unemployment crisis. Not many are aware that companies are now looking for candidates who know their jobrather than the ones who are seeking a job.

It is time Indians start building awareness highlighting the career opportunities that skillbased education would offer in the present global market. It is therefore time for students, parents, authorities on their part to understand the importance of vocational education and take the necessary steps towards adoptingskill based education.This could in turn work as a solution for the large unemployed labour market of India and therein help propel the country towards better progress and prosperity.

Suresh Rangarajan

Founder and CEO, Colive

Suresh Rangarajan K (SRK) has been a passionate & intense start-up professional. A Chartered Accountant by profession he is an Alumni of the Yale School of Management. One of the early adopters of the internet world, he was part of the founding team of Citi-Times JV TimesOfMoney.com. Under his enterprising leadership, remit2india.com went on to become the world’s #1 online money transfer portal & one of the most successful internet businesses in India. SRK then founded an innovative real estate enterprise called Artha. The highlights of his stint at Artha include the path breaking Startup City & Knowledge Park – Emprasa. Suresh founded CoLife in 2016 – a company that offers shared living & workspaces for Indian Millennials. Headquartered in Bangalore, it currently operates across 12 different locations. The company was conceptualised on the bedrock of community engagement, as an effort towards building a networking forum for Millennials to cooperate, collaborate and communicate seamlessly. He was conferred the prestigious Udyog Rattan award and WCRC. Ernst & Young also awarded him the “Trend Setter in Real Estate”. Suresh continues to hold board positions in Artha and Brand Accelerator (a startup marketplace) and advisory roles with more than half a dozen startups including Vear, Ubinga, TherPup.
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