Venue: CII Office, Gurgaon

Event: CII Conclave on NSQF Framework and its Application in Sector Skills Council

Delegate: Mr. Aritro Dasgupta

CII conducted an interactive session to project the case of NSQF and its role in facilitating vocational education in India. Due to the government’s concerted attempts at skilling, this has taken particularly crucial a role. This write-up will explore the discussions held during the session by the panel members.

The panel consisted of following members:

S. No. Name Designation Organization Session Role
1 Mr. Jayant Krishna Co- Chairman Special Task Force on Skills Education & Entrepreneurship Development Session Moderator
2 Mr. Ajay Goel VP- Industry & Academic Interface Wadhwani Foundation Key Speaker
3 Mr. Ashish Jain CEO Healthcare Sector Skill Council Key Speaker


Mr. Jayant Krishna

Being in charge of the welcome remarks, this speaker set the context for the discussions ahead. He introduced the panel members while adding points of his own. He spoke about how polytechnics or ITIs (Industrial Training Institute) are seen as end of the road for applicants. There doesn’t seem to be scope for vertical mobility within this industry or horizontal movement with the mainstream education. India has a 48 crore strong workforce yet we have not yet reached a point to take advantage of what is termed as the demographic dividend. The speaker highlighted further damaging statistics. The school dropout ratio stood at a whopping 43% between standard I to VIII. Further the figure rose to 57% when class X was factored in. A large chunk of these students and for that matter even graduates or post graduates in India were unfortunately unemployable. By the tender age of 17, only a third of the people still seem to be studying while it was a measly 13% for those aged between 18 and 24. Thus for those who do not complete mainstream education, vocational education provides that space which can skill the individual to pursue a fruitful career. Yet only 5% of the target audience goes through vocational education.

Further problems were highlighted by the speaker. He spoke about how there exists a complete lack of uniformity in the country regarding vocational education qualifications. What seems to be passable in one state may fail in another and vice-versa. Even a developing country like Egypt has formalized its vocational education standards. We have not done too well in regulating mainstream education either, but at least there exist minimum hygiene factors there, missing completely in the field of skilling. Among developed countries, Denmark has a really well organized skilling system for vocational education. Germany is a country renowned for cutting edge technology, yet the majority of the country ends up pursuing vocational education. Around 80% of that cost is borne by the industry which has a seamless transition system between training apprentices and inducting them into the workforce. In India, though there is no organized labour market. JCB is once corporate this speaker singled out for commendable performances in the field of skilling own staff. This he says is not part of CSR, but indeed core business operations because in the medium to long term, this yields good dividends. There are at the moment a mere 2.8 lakh apprentices in India in manufacturing and this figure is lower than employees in a large firm like TCS. This figure has to change and soon.

Mr. Ajay Goel

Mr. Goel began his session by likening skilling to that famous elephant story where different blind men touch different parts of the animal and come up with different interpretations of the same. NSQF was released in December of the year 2013. NVEQF meanwhile was released in September, 2012. NSQF is thus a unified Indian qualification framework.

The speaker spoke about how traditionally skill training would be imparted in India. The senior would apparently be a Pappu while the apprentice was a Chhotu. The apprentice would eventually pick up all the skills from the ‘expert’ yet there was no social respect for either. NSQF is a mechanism to formalize the apprenticeship as well as on the job learning. This will entail greater social respect and possibly salaries too. There is even an assessment methodology at the end of the module. This will even strengthen industry- academia linkages. Standards have been laid down known as – NOS (National Occupational Standards) & QP (Qualification Pack). Each of them has levels from 1 to 7. Level 7 is the top one yet it does not have equivalence to the mainstream graduation degree. Level 1 is totally unskilled. The same person can acquire different levels for various job roles. Soft skills are aslo included as part of the package.

Some encouraging signs have recently taken places. In the state of Himachal Pradesh a job fair was held for those having qualified from vocational education. The highest placement package went to a class XII finisher at an impressive Rs. 15,000/- per month from Dharamsala which even happens to be his hometown. The average package is around Rs. 8,000/- which is pretty usual. In Gujarat, bridge courses have been started between mainstream and vocational education. Even in Rajasthan, plans are afoot for the same. In Delhi, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Kaushal Kendra skill centres have been specifically opened up.

There is this idea floating to somehow integrate some relevant vocational skills with mainstream educational courses. For example, the speaker talked about how a student studying B.A. (H) History at DU can be benefitted if he /she is exposed to a videography/ photography training as that can be useful in the study and professional stream. Trainer skills development is also a major challenge. But if students get well trained, them getting differential salaries because of their skill sets would be possible. These courses are getting aligned with similar foreign ones. Thus plans are on to equalize these courses at par with those in developed countries. These training agencies then even help arranging visas for trained workers.

Mr. Ashish Jain

This speaker spoke about how short term courses both after 10th and 12th help majorly in job facilitation. He spoke with special focus on the healthcare sector. The government wants to train people for this. There is indeed a supply- demand gap. However, if this skilling gap can be bridged, then there will be positive ROI for the industry. NSDC compliance then becomes paramount for survival and growth. Post training, organizations place them at their own centres. Presently a project is underway with Australia to benchmark skilling standards.

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