100 Community Colleges to Impart Skills to Adult Illiterates to be Launched this Year: Kapil Sibal

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Calls for focused international tie-ups for skills development

INDIACSR News Network

NEW DELHI:  The Government has decided to set up 10 community colleges in collaboration with Canadian education institutes to educate adult illiterates and enable them to absorb the skills required for jobs in the vicinity of their homes, Mr. Kapil Sibal, Union Minister for Human Resource Development and Communications & Information Technology, announced here today.

Inaugurating FICCI’s 5th Global Skills Summit on the theme ‘Learner First’, Mr. Sibal said, “Under the adult literacy programme of the HRD Ministry, as many as 70 million people need to be literate and their capacity enhanced to enable them to acquire the skills required to perform jobs. Of these, 60 million are women who need to be given the required education and skills training close to where they live.”

Towards this end, the Minister announced that the government has decided to launch 100 community colleges this year.

Mr. Sibal said that by 2030 India would become the most populous country with 1.5 billion people. At present, India has 400 million in the age group of 0-40 which is three-fourth that of Europe and much larger than the numbers in the US and Canada put together.

“I shudder to think of the challenges of educating and imparting training in skills to contribute to the growth process,” he said and added that “if we don’t get it right, the recipe would be between disaster and great success”.

He called for a roadmap for focused international collaboration as with the IT revolution, the world was getting more integrated and smaller. This would call for the developing skills that would be required to service the world community, he said.

Mr. Sibal underlined the need for vocational education programmes in schools for children in Classes 9-12. In this context, he alluded to the pilot project for Vocational Education in secondary/higher secondary schools in 40 schools of Gurgaon (Haryana). The pilot project is for the National Vocational Education Qualification Framework (NVEQF), a nationally integrated education and competency based skill framework that will provide for multiple pathways both within vocational education and between general and vocational education to link one level of learning to a higher level starting from any point in education or in skills.

The framework is aimed at enhancing the employability of students who choose to leave for the job market and is based on a competency based modular approach with provision for credit accumulation and transfer. The Sector Skill councils (SSC) with representatives mainly from industry and potential employers have been set up by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and include sectors like IT, Retail, Security, Automobile and Energy, which have helped in evolving the occupational standards, curriculum and assessment packages and training modules for the four key sectors in which the Haryana pilot is launched.

There would be a shift from the present fragmented to unified vocational education governance. This would pave the way for imparting locally relevant education leading to skill development and enhancement of employability, arresting drop outs and also bringing back school drop outs into the fold of formal and informal Vocational Education.

Earlier, Minister Sibal launched the FICCI-Ernst & Young knowledge report on Skill Development in India – Learner First’ and gave away the 1st FICCI-Leapvault Skills Champion Awards.

Mr. “Naveen Jindal, Member of Parliament and Chairman, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd., in his address, emphasized the need for government and industry to work closely together to train the youth and the women folk. At present, there is little or no effort to impart skills to women, he said and added that community colleges would go a long way in encouraging women to join and receive the right kind of training.

Mr. S. Ramadorai, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Skills Development, “National Council on Skill Development, said, “A framework is needed to bridge the gap between formal and vocational education. In India vocational education is not considered to be at par with formal education. Hence potential learners shy away from vocational training considering it as a one-way street with no return to formal education in future.”

Mr. R V Kanoria, President, FICCI and Chairman & Managing Director, Kanoria Chemcials and Industries Ltd., stated, “The society needs to be sensitized towards vocational training. The time has come to make this form of education a viable option that can open new job opportunities for both beginners and professionals.” He added that if the mismatch between advancement of technology and the education system is eliminated then economic growth can reach unprecedented levels.

Mr. Stuart Milne, CEO, HSBC India, pointed out that skills and knowledge are the driving forces for a country. The need of the hour is an ecosystem of partnerships and interests. “We in industry have to re-invest in the community we create”, he said and added that “there was a need to focus on the learners who are the future of the country.

Mr. Michael Steiner, German Ambassador to India, stressed the need for a well-designed ecosystem for vocational training which is a pre-condition for social and communal harmony. India has to successfully tap its demographic dividend if it were to avert a demographic disaster.

Ms. “Naina Lal Kidwai, Senior Vice President, FICCI and Country Head-HSBC India & Director-HSBC Asia Pacific HSBC Ltd., read out the FICCI Skills Pledge to advance the cause of skill development in India. Mr. Kapil Sibal was the first Indian to sign the Skills Pledge.

Mr. Abhaya Agarwal, Partner, Ernst & Young, in his remarks, said, “A regional Career and Counselling Window – under the guidance of professionals should be set up by the Government. This window will provide the right information, career counselling, direction and confidence to the learner regarding the best options of vocational education available for them. Such a system would help in eliminating uncertainty in the mind of the learner and enable them to wisely choose their educational direction in accordance with the individual’s inner competencies. However, the good news is that a sense of realism and realization has evolved both with the government and private sector, which will lead the country towards further economic prosperity through their joint endeavors”.

The inaugural session of the Summit was also addressed by Mr. RCM Eddy, Chairman, FICCI Skills Development Forum and MD & CEO, IL&FS Education and Skills and Mr. Sanjeev Duggal, Co-Chairman, FICCI Skills Development Forum and CEO & Director, Centum Learning.

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