Skill training courses from Class IX onward in at least 25 per cent of all schools in the country over the next four years and national universities for skill development — these are the key priorities of the proposed national policy on skill development and entrepreneurship, in line with the government’s efforts to integrate vocational training with formal education.
“One of the major challenges faced in the country today is the public perception that views skilling to be the last resort, meant for those who have not been able to progress in the formal academic system,” says the draft policy that aims “to meet the challenge of skilling at scale with speed, standard (quality) and sustainability.”
The policy also focuses on imparting vocational training to school dropouts and enhancing the social status of such workers.
The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship is understood to be finalising the new policy and a formal announcement is expected soon. “This would be a multi-pronged approach to take up the challenge of skilling such a large number of workers on a sustained basis,” said an official.
With just 2.3 per cent of the country’s workforce having formal skill training, the vision of a Skilled India was one of the key pre-poll promises of the BJP, and is also in sync with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India campaign. The government has set itself a target of skilling nearly 12 crore workers by 2022 to meet manpower demands in 24 key sectors.
All vocational training courses would be aligned to the National Skills Qualification Framework by 2018, while polytechnics and community colleges would also provide a Bachelor’s degree in vocational studies. This would ensure common standards in courses run across the country.
Further, the government would also provide scholarships and skill vouchers to help students pay their fees.
The new policy, which would replace the 2009 policy on skill development, also plans to modernise industrial training institutes and polytechnics, rename new ITIs as multi-skilling institutes in sync with industry requirements, and locate them near industrial hubs.
Pointing out that there are over 1.55 million schools, 25,000 colleges, 3,500 polytechnics, around 1.5 lakh post offices, over 1 lakh kiosks, 65,000 km of railway network with 8,000 stations across the country, the draft policy plans to use this existing infrastructure in off-hours to run skilling courses.
The proposed skill development universities would also provide training to the trainers. Prior learning of candidates would be assessed and certified while soft skills and basic IT and financial literacy would also be included in the courses.
The draft policy proposes to encourage private sector participation in skilling programmes. It would be the government’s responsibility to create awareness through special initiatives such as the Skill Express, a television channel and community radio dedicated to skilling.
Meanwhile, to ensure jobs for skilled workers, the government will also set up a Labour Market Information System that would track the employment status of trainees.