En­hanc­ing em­ploy­a­bil­ity level re­quires in­clu­sion of prac­ti­cal train­ing com­po­nents in BA, BCom and BSc,

En­hanc­ing em­ploy­a­bil­ity level re­quires in­clu­sion of prac­ti­cal train­ing com­po­nents in BA, BCom and BSc

DNA (Delhi) - - FRONT PAGE - writes Vi­nay Sa­hasrabud­dhe

Like many other scarci­ties in India, skill scarcity is also ar­ti­fi­cial, man-made, and in a way, tem­po­rary. It is iron­i­cal that a coun­try like India that con­tin­ues to be a huge mar­ket for all sorts of con­sumer goods — at least ap­par­ently — can’t make its huge hu­man re­sources mar­ketable. What ails our skill-de­vel­op­ment mis­sion, which is so close to the heart of Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi? Are we lack­ing in plan­ning? Is some­thing miss­ing in our ex­e­cu­tion? Or, are we erring on both the fronts? Ques­tions ga­lore!

First, let’s talk plan­ning. While we have been liv­ing with skill scarcity lead­ing to acute hu­man re­sources crunch, si­mul­ta­ne­ously, there is a se­ri­ous chal­lenge of un­em­ploy­ment. This is not only con­tra­dic­tory but also in­dica­tive of some se­ri­ous la­cu­nae in our hu­man re­sources de­vel­op­ment, man­power plan­ning and de­ploy­ment. Be­sides, ex­ces­sive se­cu­rity-cen­tric think­ing of the peo­ple at large and our habit of deny­ing dig­nity to phys­i­cal labour are also to be blamed. Take the ex­am­ple of any busi­ness hub or an in­dus­trial town. While col­leges there keep pro­duc­ing an army of grad­u­ates pri­mar­ily in arts, science and com­merce every year, busi­ness es­tab­lish­ments and in­dus­trial units in the town of­ten can’t find em­ploy­able tal­ents in the lo­cal man­power mar­ket. This is be­cause there has re­mained al­most to­tal dis­con­nect in the cour­ses of­fered by our uni­ver­si­ties and the man­power re­quired by em­ploy­ers. Sit­u­a­tions like an English lan­guage post-grad­u­ate fail­ing to write a para­graph in good English with­out us­ing spellcheck, or a Com­merce grad­u­ate clue­less about the pro­ce­dure of open­ing a bank ac­count, are nei­ther rare nor sur­pris­ing. Hence, first and fore­most, we have to evolve a sys­tem where fu­tur­is­tic man­power-needassess­ment is un­der­taken dis­trict­wise through elab­o­rate sur­veys and stud­ies, and ac­cord­ingly cour­ses are de­signed and col­leges are al­lowed to be opened! One ex­am­ple of how the sys­tem works in si­los is the fact that while so much is be­ing at­tempted for skill de­vel­op­ment, our em­ploy­ment ex­changes in the dis­tricts are miles away from these ef­forts. This is like the right hand not know­ing what the left is do­ing! Do­ing away with this dis­joint­ed­ness is the first and fore­most re­quire­ment to im­prove our job sce­nario. With­out this, while liveli­hood-seek­ing youths may land good jobs af­ter ac­quir­ing skills, the em­ploy­ment ex­change data may not re­flect the on-ground sit­u­a­tion.

En­hanc­ing em­ploy­a­bil­ity lev­els re­quires manda­tory in­clu­sion of prac­ti­cal train­ing com­po­nents in main­stream grad­u­a­tion cour­ses like BA, BCom, BSc etc. Is­sues like ad­e­quate time for com­ple­tion of syl­labus are sec­ondary to the acute need for in­cor­po­rat­ing at least six­month long ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­po­sure based hands-on train­ing to all arts, com­merce and science grad­u­ates. Over­rid­ing all con­cerns for aca­demic au­ton­omy etc of our uni­ver­si­ties, the Gov­ern­ment can do well to ex­plore this idea through a case study. Why can’t we have an idea as sim­ple as em­ploy­ing teach­ing and re­search as­sis­tants (TAs and RAs) in col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties so as to al­low tal­ented but needy stu­dents com­plete their ed­u­ca­tion eas­ily? Sim­i­larly, we can’t af­ford ‘Jobs on De­mand’ as it is not-ad­vis­able be­cause it may pro­mote dolecul­ture be­sides be­ing eco­nom­i­cally im­prac­ti­cal. But we cer­tainly can try Skills on De­mand! This could be seam­lessly un­der­taken through an app to con­nect skill-seek­ers to skill­givers. And re­mem­ber, there are crores of re­tired em­ploy­ees ca­pa­ble and will­ing to give skill train­ing and even men­tor a new en­tre­pre­neur! In fact, with the help of ex-em­ploy­ees and ju­nior-se­nior cit­i­zens, em­ploy­ment ex­changes could rightly be con­verted into Skill Ex­changes where skill ed­u­ca­tion could be freely ac­quired and im­parted.

Es­pe­cially for ad­dress­ing the is­sues of dis­tressed farm­ers, two things could be thought of. Firstly, young mem­bers of the fam­i­lies of mar­ginal farm­ers could be given pri­or­ity fund­ing for start­ing agroen­ter­prises or other ru­ral in­dus­tries and busi­nesses un­der Mi­cro Units De­vel­op­ment & Re­fi­nance Agency Ltd (MUDRA). A va­ri­ety of such en­ter­pris­ing ini­tia­tives may in­clude cot­tage in­dus­tries based on mar­ginal for­est pro­duce, ru­ral ar­ti­san­ship, agro and vil­lage tourism, etc. Sec­ondly, more vi­brant mech­a­nisms should be put in place to test and recog­nise lev­els of var­i­ous tra­di­tional skills ac­quired by the youths while as­sist­ing their par­ents in fam­ily busi­nesses or tra­di­tional in­dus­tries, in­clud­ing ar­ti­san­ship.

Add to this an ur­gent need for in­sti­tu­tion­al­is­ing a new branch — namely In­no­va­tion Stud­ies. This is re­quired to un­der­stand as to why cer­tain in­no­va­tions are suc­cess­fully con­verted into a busi­ness model pretty fast and many other just do not! Em­pir­i­cal data on how in­no­va­tions are ei­ther lead­ing to busi­ness evo­lu­tion or fac­ing ob­struc­tions mid­way, would ben­e­fit im­prov­ing skills sce­nario in mul­ti­ple ways.

Skill de­vel­op­ment surely can pro­vide an an­swer to the chal­lenge of un­em­ploy­ment. But since factors that have com­pelled us to grap­ple with job scarcity are not the cre­ation of govern­ments, for so­lu­tions, too, we can’t solely de­pend on the gov­ern­ment alone. De­vel­op­ment — and em­ploy­ment gen­er­a­tion is in­te­gral to it — can’t just be a gov­ern­ment pro­gramme. It has to be a move­ment by the peo­ple, as has been rightly em­pha­sised by the PM. It is, there­fore, re­quired that NGOs, Cham­bers of Com­merce and in­dus­tries as well as youth or­gan­i­sa­tions come to­gether and em­bark upon a time-bound and tar­geted Skill India move­ment.

The au­thor is Na­tional VP of BJP. Views ex­pressed are

per­sonal.

It is nec­es­sary to evolve a sys­tem where fu­tur­is­tic man­power-need-as­sess­ment is un­der­taken through elab­o­rate sur­veys

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