Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in partnership with National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) & Govt of Haryana organized the 4th Edition of Edu Summit on Monday, September 1, 2014 at CII NR Headquarters, Chandigarh. The theme of the summit was Aligning education with the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF).
NSQF was launched in December 2013 to address the need to align the supply of skills through education and training to the requirements of the employers. The framework will map all the recognized qualifications into a unified framework that will be based on competence. Therefore, the mode of acquiring these competencies - through vocation training or education - becomes more prominent than the qualification by itself. With the formation of Sector Skill Councils, there is a lot of emphasis on following the NSQF where education should be such that it aims at developing competencies. So far in India, it was qualifications that were used as benchmark to people getting employed. With the NSQF coming in, a number of changes would be required to make this happen.
The Edu Summit 2014 deliberated on how to create pathways for learning for students involved in vocational training with the education structure and share the international examples on how they have aligned in their countries.
The last three editions of EduSummit have been extremely successful and were well appreciated by the various stakeholders - government, industry and academia in the education sector.
Officials from central and state governments, NSDA, NSDC, UGC, IGNOU, chancellors, vice chancellors of various national and international universities, educationists and thinkers shared their viewpoints at the summit. The summit aimed to focus on some key aspects such as how do we create opportunities for developing career pathways, how do we recognise prior learning and what modifications are needed to make it happen. The three sessions focussed on the following themes:
1. Learning from the international experience
2. Possibilities of linkages between the three levels of education – the school, vocational training institutes and institutions of higher learning - in the country
3. How can the regulatory system be made more flexible to make multiple entry and exit points feasible
Addressing the 4th CII Edu Summit, Mr K K Sharma, Adviser to the Administrator, Chandigarh Administration asked “Why there is huge mismatch between industry’s requirements and skills produced by our Institutes is a huge question that needs to be answered”. Calling the CII to partner aggressively with the governments and skill development agencies, the Advisor further emphasised that “Since industry is the best judge as to what kind of skills they require the most from time to time, hence industry should collaborate and participate with vocational and educational institutes, universities, government agencies and skilling centres to develop curricula, suggest and decide on courses to be promoted. We are ready to do as per your feedback”.
“As far as Chandigarh is concerned, we have got a very good response for our vocational and soft skills programmes included from Class IX onwards and now we are trying to further expand it. We have also started a Smart school to cater to southern sectors and especially children from colonies from under privileged sections. We have also launched a campaign called Rashtriya Uchhattar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) withVC of PU as the Chairman. Sharing details of another key initiative for Disabled, the Advisor mentioned that “The differently abled children are thrilled to learn preparation of bakery items like bread / cakes, biscuits etc at a programme launched at the Hotel Management Institute, Chandigarh.
“Adoption of innovative and latest techniques and PPP mode with special thrust to Research & Development in Higher Education sector would be the game changer for India in the current global scenario and take India to its much desired position”, highlighted Mr S S Prasad, Additional Chief Secretary - Higher Education, Govt of Haryana. Calling for active industry participation, Mr Prasad further emphasised that “Innovative funding and financial models under Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode is the need of the hour to meet the expected requirement of about US$ 84 billion of investment to educate about 33.4 million students expected to enter higher and vocational education space by 2016. The bridging of ITIs and colleges is also as much critical”.
“We are very serious about vocational training and feel that banking, insurance, retail and IT are the sectors of tomorrow. The Haryana government is very committed to spread education in far-flung areas of the state, benefiting thousands of students. The testimony to this fact is that, today we have more than 40 Universities in Haryana as compared to just 9 in 2007, 1200 institutes of higher education, 200 engineering colleges and 472 Bed colleges” he elaborated.
A CII – Ernst & Young Knowledge Paper on Aligning Higher Education with National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) was also be released at the Summit.
Calling Skilled youth, the oil of the new Century, Mr Vijay K Thadani, CII Edu Summit & Chairman & CEO, NIIT Ltd, said, “In the next few years, India will be home to world’s largest workforce but this workforce can be a boon only if it is educated, skilled and motivated. In the present scenario, integration of Skills and education is the biggest hurdle in Indian Education System and to bridge the gap between them, National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) has a major role to play”. Appreciating Central Government’s move of establishing Ministry of Skills, he said that “The Central government has taken a very important move by establishing the Ministry of Skills, but multiple agencies are needed to impart its benefits to the actual needy. Also, there is a great need to bring about equivalence between Degree and Skills. The Social status for a skilled person needs to be redefined”. “We need to create new models of Skill education & Training which could help in generating employment in accordance with the need of society. Like European nations, we need to develop model of Local jobs-Local Curriculum”, he added.
Mr Dilip Chenoy, Managing Director & CEO, National Skill Development Corporation, said that “We need to have sectoral standard certifications, so that every program or training results in credit i.e certificates. Industry itself should set standards for the kind of efficiency and specialization it needs. Hence grades can be allotted to students based on their performance. Also, there is a dire need to align and synchronizevarious state boards of education so as to have one standard model for higher education across nation”. “NSQF will play a significant role in the achievement of the national strategic skill objectives by acting as an interface between Industry and Academia. In order to achieve this, the key area that needs to be addressed would be mobility – lateral and vertical. For this a number of areas will need to be thought through – Regulatory aspects, flexibility in entry and exit points, Credits, Recognition of Prior learning and certification”, he added.
“The industry which is the major consumer of skilled workforce should give their thorough inputs through the recently identified 6 Sector Skill Councils to conduct studies in the areas of Agriculture, Capital Goods, Construction, Domestic workers, Gems and Jewellery and Healthcare, to start with. Further the academicians, youth and universities should also work closely with the industry to remove this major stumbling block of unclear definition of competence”, he added.
“Defining the level of competence expected from various higher education degrees as well as that of vocational training is the only way to bridge the huge unapparent disconnect between the skill requirements of the industry and those delivered by our institutes”, highlighted Mr J P Rai, Director General, National Skill Development Agency (NSDA), an autonomous body formed to coordinate and harmonize the skill development efforts of the Government and the private sector to achieve the skilling targets of the 12th Plan. NSDA is especially anchoring the National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF)which acts as an industry - academia interface and aims to set up professional certifying bodies to certify learning outcomes which the learner must possess regardless of whether they were acquired through formal, non-formal or informal learning.
“The various parameters of level of competence attributed with different degrees and vocational education that call for clear definition could be the mandatory professional knowledge, minimum physical skills set, personal soft skills like IT etc and the element of supervision / responsibility related to that particular degree. In short, Competence means the proven ability to use acquired knowledge, skills and personal and social abilities to do a job well. NSQF aims to identify and certify such competence irrespective of any degree or duration. One can even acquire desired competence by experience or accompanying any one on the field; without even undergoing 15 years of education”, he further emphasised.
On retooling and aligning skills development with higher education, he suggested that “A mass mindset change is required at all levels in India. The vocational jobs are looked down upon in India. Even in a survey conducted in 7European countries, more than 50 % of the students undergoing higher education degrees indicated that they did not pursue vocational courses just because of theprestige issues, low social status attributed to such jobs and an unorganisedvocational sector. Same applies to India as well, and these issues need to be sorted out immediately to meet the industry’s demand of 12.8 million new jobs every year”.
Ms Muna Salih Meky, Senior Education Specialist, The World Bank, said, “Skill development is now a global issue and collaborative efforts of international skill development councils will help in shaping skills of youth. What we need at the moment is cross-country partnerships for imparting skills education. Skill Development Exchange Programs can be a game changer here”.
Stressing upon the need of Apprenticeship, Mr Leighton Ernsberger, Assistant Director Skills, British Council, shared, “Alike European countries, Apprenticeship (System of training a new generation of practitioners of a trade or profession with on-the-job training and often some accompanying study (classroom work and reading), should be introduced as a part of Indian education Curriculum. Also, there should be Third Party assessment to see how the training bodies are working”.
For more information, please visit event website www.cii.in