Interactive Session with PM Modi

It was a privilege to be a participant at the interactive session organized by the federal policy think-tank Niti Aayog with our PM Narendra Modi on August 16-17 at Bhartiya Pravashi Kendra, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. The event turned out to be a great culmination of ideas and suggestions by the CEOs of both established as well as startups in India.

Organized into different spheres of discussion, I was invited to take part in the thematic forum concerning the Education and Skill Development in our country.

The vast chasm between education, employability and employment has been plaguing our country’s economic and social advancement for decades. However, things are changing now.

India happens to be on the edge of developments which can marshal its economic progression. The availability of equally good school education to all children is mainly being adhered only at the basic level, with quality continuing to be a major deterrent. On the other hand, Secondary and Higher Education level has been progressive but considerable improvement areas lie in quality and further expansion.

The internet medium of education along with other tech offerings is being considered not just as an add-on but even as an alternative to conventional medium of teaching in schools. However, despite all the progresses, several areas still remain out of cusp of the online mode of spreading education due to lack of consistent power supply / internet as well as costs of devices and dearth of digital awareness and comfort to grasp the same.

As far as the higher education is concerned, we must applaud the government’s initiative with the Swayam platform, inculcating online mode mainly for blended learning and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Still, how effective MOOCs would be for higher education remains murky. Besides, completely internet-based educational courses are at present not allowed as per the UGC. Even though draft recommendations vis-à-vis online thrust on education have been proposed by the education body, they don’t extend to professional fields like engineering, medicine, dental, pharmacy, nursing etc.

The National Apprenticeship Training Scheme (NATS) under the ministry of HRD is set to incentivize private sector investment in skill development sphere with the ultimate aim to increase employability in the country. NATS would be aiding the formation of a talent pool which would be industry competent and geared to meet the basic skill-sets of an organization optimally. Similar schemes are also being probed in the realms of vocational training.

Ease of doing business is one sphere where the government must now ensure to do away with multiple bureaucracy layers to cut the red tape – so that young and aspiring entrepreneurs can seamlessly commence business. A SWCM (single-window- clearance mechanism) is the need of the hour if we’re to encourage private sector investment into educational and skill development industry especially.

Personally, I encourage implementing a vocational program as well as psychometric profiling & counseling of students from mid-school onwards on various kinds of careers suitable to them. Post completion of 2 years of such vocational programs students should be transitioned into being employable.

The apex of the aim to educate our children and youth must be gainful employment post their courses. Towards this the fitment of demand and supply based on courses and implementation of the skills & training programs is crucial – as India has a lot many educated youth who find no employment as well as a lot many job openings without the right fitment of people.

Hope for a bright future for the children and youth of our country!

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