Bhubabewar: In a bid to scale-up skill development the Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh has written to Chief Ministers of all the state to consider opening up public education infrastructure, after class hours, for skill development. This can lead to a dramatic scaling up of skill development where skill developers in the private sector would be able to provide training at cheaper costs and spread skill development to all parts of the country.
In his letter he writes “Some experts have estimated that India has the capacity to create 500 million certified and skilled technicians by the year 2022. This would provide employment opportunities to our young people to access opportunities provided by economic growth and make that growth more inclusive and shared”.
He added that A plan for skill development must begin with increasing our investments in education. You would have noticed that the Central Government has sought to convert the Eleventh Plan largely into a national plan for education with the gross budgetary support to education being raised from 7.68% in the Tenth Plan to 19% in the Eleventh Plan. The actual outlays have been increased five-fold and now stand at Rs.2,75,000 crore. This investment will be used to provide universal elementary education of quality, support a new focus for secondary education and generate a second wave of major investment in higher education with the setting up of several institutions of higher learning including 30 new Central Universities , 8 Indian Institutes of Technology and 7 Indian Institutes of Management. This investment in education would be complementary to the proposed action for skill development. Some of the key governance principles for a skill development strategy would be to design programmes under which the learner can pay the skill provider directly, skills are made bankable and individuals are enabled to convert their knowledge and skills, through Testing and Certification, into higher diplomas and degrees. There is a need to promote multiple models of delivery that can respond to the differing situations in various states.
He urge that while planning for skill development, the dimension of inclusivity is not lost sight of. The design should deal effectively with gender and rural-urban divides, as well as divides between organized and unorganized industry and between traditional home-based and contemporary work place-based occupations.
He suggest that to make available buildings of public educational institutions above the High School level after class hours for skill development to any agency including the private sector. It is estimated that there are over 2,00,000 such educational institutions many of which can become skill development centres immediately without affecting formal educational transactions that happen during class hours. Necessary regulations could be brought in by the management authority of the particular educational institution. It would immediately make available a huge stock of public investment to combine with private sector capacity to generate skills. Costs would be lower as skill providers would not have to invest in buildings for skill training. This may help to create skill building opportunities across all parts of the country in a short time.
The second suggestion is that State Governments could consider setting up State Level Missions for Skill Development chaired by Chief Ministers to provide inter-sectoral coordination on this critical challenge and, in addition to Government departments, involve experts and representatives from the category of job providers to plan and implement the Mission .