Impact of Skill Centers on Students and their Employability
Skill Centres should collaborate with K-12 Sector to enhance their effectiveness
With the Union Budget 2017-18 allocating Rs 4000 crore to the Skill Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion Programme (SANKALP), the Prime Minister’s ambitious Skill India Mission campaign got a new zeal. Launched in 2015, the mission aims to train 400 million youth in new skills by 2022. Though educators and critics have termed the allocation insufficient, the objective of the mission seems promising and holds potential since it entails collaborating with other agencies in order to enrich the skills of the country’s youth.
Revive Past Initiative
In July 2015, the Directorate of Education signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Skill Development Corporation to introduce vocational courses. The list of skill-based courses range from legal studies to stenography and computer application, and can be broadly categorised under the following heads: commerce, engineering, health and paramedical, home science, agriculture, hospitality and tourism. When the MOU was initially signed, the initiative was received with enthusiasm and applause. However, it has lost momentum over time. Steps to revive it can help tackle the dropout rates in schools and improve youth employability ratio.
Dropout: The Present Plague
The issue of high dropout rate in rural and urban schools has been plaguing the Indian education system for a long time now. Among others, the need to find a job remains one of the major reasons for dropping out of schools. However, if steps are taken to align skill development and vocational training centres within the school set-up, it could reduce the dropout rate besides making students job-ready. In fact, this could help them to choose from a wide variety of courses and focus attention on knowledge acquisition and development and get trained in a course of their choice.
Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras – Centre of Excellence: A Vision
Despite the mandatory financial allocation for skill development in every budget, the effectiveness of the skill development centres remains questionable. Constructive measures like collaboration of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras with schools at the district level would help in improving their quality. The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) had established PM Kaushal Kendra to model India as the world’s skill capital. This budget has proposed to extend these kendras to more than 600 districts. A further collaboration with the K-12 sector would provide the necessary impetus for enhancing different kinds of skills. Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras can thus, initiate the development process at the grassroot level. They can also act as centres of excellence over time and gauge the overall progress and success of the project. With the plan of launching the next phase of Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE) at a cost of Rs 2200 crores in place, we should lay a stronger base starting from now to reap the benefits later.
In the scenario of an acute shortage of skilled labour in India -- only 20 per cent graduates in our country are employable because the rest lack the requisite skills--skill centres can boost the employability rate. Besides, skill development courses can also boost creativity, interpersonal sensitivity, problem-solving skills, etc. Furthermore, e-learning can enhance the learning process. Skill development therefore needs to be carried out alongside academics in schools to bring about a positive change.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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