Skills and knowledge are the driving forces of economic growth and social development. The demographic transition of India makes it imperative to ensure employment opportunities for more than 12 million youth entering the workforce annually.
India is one of the youngest nations in the world, with more than 54% of the total population below 25 years of age and over 62% of the population in the working age group (15-59 years). The country’s population pyramid is expected to bulge across the 15-59 age group over the next decade. This demographic advantage is predicted to last only until 2040. India, therefore, has a narrow time frame to harness its demographic dividend and to overcome its skill shortages.
India currently faces a shortage of well-trained, skilled workers. It is estimated that only 2.3% of the workforce in India has undergone formal skill training as compared to 68% in the UK, 75% in Germany, 52% in USA, 80% in Japan and 96% in South Korea.
The Skill India campaign was launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15th July, 2018 to provide the institutional capacity to train a minimum of 300 million skilled people by the year 2022. The vision, objectives and design of the Skill India Mission draw on the lessons learnt from the implementation of skill development efforts over the past decade. This campaign is an important milestone towards achieving the objective of skill development with speed, scale and standards across the country.
There is scope of international collaboration and assistance in India’s skill development initiatives at almost all levels, including for creating awareness and capacities, setting standards, improving quality, as well as providing placement opportunities.
In this regard, Germany and India are already deepening their collaboration in the field of skill development. An implementation agreement was signed between the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) of India and the German International Cooperation (GIZ), to initiate a new project focused on adapting elements of the German dual system in select industrial clusters in India.
The dual system has been a major factor in Germany’s economic success and inventiveness over the past six decades. Many countries have looked at Germany's dual education system when reforming their own vocational education training / skill education system.
German technical assistance will be used to enhance industry-institute partnerships between Indian and German organizations, build capacity of local training institutions and foster industry linkages which will help adapt elements of the German dual system, into the Indian context.
Some specific measures that can be taken by various stakeholders including the government, industry bodies, corporates, educational institutes as well as foreign investors are:
- Integration, Mobility and Transition: Foreign countries can assist India in aligning various standards to internationally acceptable standards. This will enable recognition of India’s skilled workforce and provide international opportunities for Indian work-force
- Financing mechanism: Multinationals can enter into third country collaborations with training providers in India, wherein they can sponsor the skill development of Indian youth customized to specific requirements of their units across the world
- Creating capacities / infrastructure: Foreign governments, corporates and multilateral agencies can make significant investments in skill development initiatives in India including setting up so skill centres and universities
- Greater Industry linkage: Indian subsidiaries/ Indian units of foreign companies can adopt some it is for upgrading their skill-sets (Eg. Bosch India has agreed to take over 25 industrial training institutes in Maharashtra)
- Increased Linkages: Exchange and Twinning programmes at schools and universities to facilitate exchange and capacity building programmes for students, administrators as well as teachers