Wednesday, 15 July 2015



Mr. Dilip Chenoy is Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), an autonomous body formed in 2009. Mr. Dilip Chenoy has a job to do which looks almost impossible to do given the sheer size of the target number and the state of affairs in the field of vocational training. His target is to place 150 million youth in vocational jobs by 2022, that too by public-private partnership. Government, concerned with the growing threat of unemployment in the unskilled and semi skilled youth of the country, constituted on 1stJuly 2008, “National Council on Skill Development”. The Cabinet at its meeting held on 15thMay 2008, decided to take “Coordinated Action for Skill Development and set up of the National Skill Development Corporation".

The Council is at the apex of a three-tier structure and is concerned with vision setting and laying down core strategies. The Council would be assisted by the National Skill Development Coordination Board chaired by the Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission which would coordinate action for skill development both in the public and the private sector. So far very little skill development is going on in the unorganized sector. Skills specifically required for some private sector organization, is being imparted in house sometimes taking help of foreign expertise. This effort is made only when the firm found it difficult to outsource and get marketable quality product. In construction big organizations like Larsen and Toubro (L & T), Sobha developers, and GMR do some in house training. Compared to Government, the requirement and opportunity for employment is quite large in private sector. To rope in private participation and to consolidate the efforts, an institutional arrangement in the form of a non-profit corporation called the National Skill Development Corporation was set up by the Ministry of Finance.

The NSDC is a 49%:51% partnership between the government and the private sector. 25 firms and 8 not-for-profit associations have each invested Rs 5 million in the organization, with the government investing the balance amount. The government has the right to nominate the company’s Chairman and 3 Directors, while each of the other investors can appoint one Director. The intent is for the private and non-profit sectors to have the higher share of Directors on the Board.

The primary objective of the NSDC is to contribute 30% to India’s overall target of skilling and up-skilling 500 million people by 2022, mainly through fostering private sector initiatives in this area. The intent of the NSDC is powerful and if executed, could be the catalyst that India needs.

· The NSDC aims to raise skill levels to international standards through strong industry involvement, and by setting frameworks for standards and curricula.

· It will enhance, support, and coordinate private sector initiatives for skill development through appropriate public-private partnership models, while striving for a strong operational and financial involvement of the private sector.

· The Council will focus on under-privileged sections of society and backwards areas, to help move these sections out of poverty. Similarly, it will focus on the unorganized sector.

· It will play the role of a ‘market-maker’ by bringing financing or viability gap funding, particularly in sectors where the market mechanism is missing or ineffective.

· Finally, it will prioritize initiatives that are ‘multipliers’ or ‘catalysts’ rather than just one-off

NSDC has identified 20 sectors in which it would initiate action in skill development. They are: 
Automobile/auto components 
Electronics hardware 
Textiles and garments 
Leather and leather goods 
Chemicals and pharmaceuticals 
Gems and jewels 
Building and construction 
Food processing 
Handlooms and handicrafts 
IT or software 
Tourism, hospitality and travel 
Transportation/logistics/warehousing and packaging 
Organized retail 
Media, entertainment, broadcasting, content creation, animation 
Banking/insurance and finance 
Education/skill development 

Mr. Chenoy has a very uphill task. So far NSDC and its private partners have trained, as per his statement 0.25 million in 2011-12; and they have a target of 14.6 mil by 2016-17. Given the condition of vocational training in India, mostly confined to ill equipped ITIs, teaching shops which are trying to make a fast buck in some of marketable vocations like Nursing, Animation, fashion design etc., it will take an all out effort to realize the target.

Many experts in the political arena feel that if there is one thing which can bring unrest in the country it is the large scale unemployment and under employment which is growing exponentially. One reason is the low level of employability among this group of 680 million of the age group of 18-59. A Study conducted by Nasscom for IT says that only20% of the 400,000 engineering graduates churned out by the universities every year meet the requirement of the companies. These graduates are found to be poor in communication, speaking English and equipped with outdated technical skills. NSDC aims at creating blue collar skills comparable to world standards.

A study done by Prof. K. Ramakrishnan and Dr. K. Vivekanandan, of Bharathiar University, Coimbatore (Jan 2006) on STATUS OF VOCATIONAL EDUCATION IN TAMILNADU has found: Nearly two lakhs of students go through the vocational education and training programmes every year. Various unregulated institutions and programmes are also present in this sector. The self-financed institutions dominate the vocational education sector excepting in the case of the vocational stream of the HSS stage, where surprisingly not a single self-financed school offers vocational stream.

 The National Council of Vocational Education and Training prescribes a curriculum which is uniform all across the country and the certificate examination papers are not offered in local languages. There was no prescribed curriculum for the industrial schools offering a large number of courses. In July 2005, some attempt has been apparently made. The curriculum for the vocational stream at the HSS stage has not been reviewed since the inception of the courses in 1978. No effort by the state to have standard textbooks designed and approved. Only coaching for examination oriented books are available commercially. The Directorate of Employment does not classify the SCVET certificate or the vocational stream of the HSS under “vocational trade” for registration of the candidates completing these courses. 

The vocational training institutions in general suffer from the lack of contemporary equipment and laboratory facilities. Significant proportion of students joining the polytechnics do so after studying or completing 12th standard though the eligibility requirement is only 10th pass. The wastage rate (proportion that does not complete the programme) is also not insignificant. 
In general those who join vocational programmes seem to be those who are not high scorers in the 10th / 12th examinations. The HSS Vocational stream seems to be the last resort for continuing some education or the choice for the purpose of availing the special quota of engineering degree seats. 

Many of those who completed VET are not very well off either in terms of employability or earnings. Most indicated the lack of practical training as a major problem during their programme of study/training. Apprenticeship Scheme implementation is not very satisfactory: the norms are not being followed by the industry; the students do not get adequate support from training institutions to get placed as apprentices. 

The situation is not particular to Tamilnadu alone but it is so all over India.

Rightly, NSDC has spent much of the time so far in understanding the skill gaps in various sectors, identifying private partners of quality and convincing industry to participate for their own good. Mr Chenoy says he had 45 meetings with construction industry and 20 with electronic industry so far.

A ray of hope is that NSDC has found short term courses either free or subsidised may find takers from under privileged section of the society from which the bulk of the participants have to come. This has been our experience. We have found a duration of 4 to 6 months with some stipend to compensate the wages fore gone as unskilled workers in the market, free lodging and boarding attracts the participants. After this initial grounding with 75% practice and 25% theory they require to be inducted into industry and the education should continue under expert trainer workers at each work site. Periodical recall of very short duration (15 days to one month) will make them in steps with the current requirement. That is where the industry’s cooperation is most needed. Mr Chenoy says “Fortunately the industry realises now”.

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