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Use internet for scaling up vocational education: Top Indian official


18 April 2013

Ashok Kumar/OneWorld South Asia

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Unless modern technological tools like Internet are used to impart vocational training, skilling cannot be scaled up, said Dr Sam Pitroda, chairman of India’s National Innovation Council.

Skill development is the biggest challenge for India, cautioned Dr Sam Pitroda, chairman of India’s National Innovation Council.

Skill development is the biggest challenge for India, cautioned Dr Sam Pitroda, chairman of India’s National Innovation Council. Addressing the audience during Yuva Parivartan’s third International Summit on Skill Development, Dr Pitroda stressed on the immediate need for introducing modern tools and techniques to people who are trained in traditional skills.

Pitroda lamented that most of the youth lack soft knowledge, like language and communication skills, even after completing their graduation. There is a need to pay proper attention to the whole unorganized sector in India, he said. “It is unfortunate that vocational education is seen for someone who has not been able to make it to the college,” Pitroda said.

Pitroda cautioned that unless modern technological tools like Internet are used to impart vocational training, skilling cannot be scaled up in a country where millions of youths are unemployed for want of skills.

Kishor Kher, President and Trustee of Kherwadi Social Welfare Association, said that by 2022, India will have 550 million unskilled and marginally educated youth.  Highlighting that 80% of the Indian Youth do not complete school, he said that the Indian government plans to provide skill training to 550 million youth by 2020.

Kher revealed that while 92% of jobs are in the unorganised sector, most programmes are geared for the 8% jobs in the organised sector.  Talking about the role of the civil society in bringing a positive change, he said, “There are over 3 million registered NGOs in India. Even if only 1 per cent (30,000 approx) work in the skilling space, they can make a big difference”.

Talking to OneWorld South Asia Kher said that if youth are not trained properly they will pose both a social and an economic problem. “Instead of running after industry, the Indian government should use the social development sector more actively than it has have been doing so far. More than industry, social development sector is actually interested in working in this domain,” he explained.

Dr John David Blomquist, Senior Economist, World Bank, said that the economic growth in India has been job-poor. “Skills are not the only or main constraint to business creation and employment,” he said.

Talking in the South Asian context, Dr Blomquist said corruption and lack of basic facilities like electricity are some of the major roadblocks to the path of job creation.

Chandni Taneja, Executive Director of Navjyoti India Foundation, impressed upon the need of defining livelihood in terms of local requirements. She also cautioned that in the absence of ample livelihood opportunities, youth turn to crime, leading the society into a vicious cycle which is not favourable for a healthy ecosystem.

Subir Gokarn, , former Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of India, said that livelihood on a sustainable and scalable basis is not going to happen unless there is a right ecosystem which includes the presence of a healthy and inclusive financial system.

Yash Pal Issar, Ex-General Manager, Financial Inclusion, Punjab National Bank, said that financial inclusion in India is a bank led model with no role for Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) or Telcos. “Indian banking system is yet to move on to evolve specific strategies for financial inclusion of youth,” he said.

Talking about the Aadhaar-based direct cash transfer system, Issar said it would prove to be a big factor for financial inclusion in India. Quoting the recent suggestion made by the Governor of Reserve Bank of India, he also spoke about the need for developing cost effective village branch model for promoting financial inclusion.

Deepali Pant Joshi, Executive Director of Reserve Bank of India, said that by 2030 half the population in India will be under the age of 28, which will put India in a better position compared to rest of the world.

Highlighting the need for focusing on the needs of the learner and the job market she said that financial inclusion cannot be achieved without spreading financial literacy. “The challenge is to evolve an appropriate business model and to create an efficient delivery mechanism for financial services, especially in rural areas,” she said.

 
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