The third batch of the online interactive workshop on “An orientation to skill development and vocational education in India” was successfully conducted by National Skills Network – NSN on 7th May 2022. The participants included senior professionals from the skill development sector from organizations like Tata Steel Foundation, UnLtd India, Tesca, GMR Varalakshmi Foundation, C T Bora College – Shirur, Setrap Education Services Pvt Ltd and K B Philanthropy.
The session was highly interactive with all the participants sharing their views on various key focus areas in the domain of vocational education and skilling, they also shared their experience from the projects they’ve implemented in skilling and livelihood enablement. All the activities planned during the workshop generated engaging discussion and for the final activity the participants had to share a short writeup with their views on a few topics.
We’re glad to share views from three participants who have expressed their thoughts on how we can improve the rural economy through vocational education and training.
Ashutosh Agarwal, Director, Tesca Technologies Pvt. Ltd., shared the following points with regard to improving the support system to facilitate vocational education in the rural areas:
- Expand the outreach of both schools and training institutions in underserved rural areas.
- Provide free basic education as it is a stepping stone to further skills training and provide financial incentives (e.g. vouchers) and non-financial incentives (e.g. meals at school and take-home rations) to improve attendance.
- Provide affordable technical and vocational training by reducing financial entry barriers, and design interventions to include those most disadvantaged in accessing education and training, such as working children, women in poverty, people with disabilities and ethnic minorities.
- Complement technical and vocational training with basic education (literacy and numeracy) and life skills (e.g: confidence building, health management, social awareness). This enables participants to benefit more from the technical and vocational training and may be particularly relevant for those most marginalised.
- Promote a gender-responsive learning environment. For example, consider safe transportation and training facilities, separate sanitation facilities, dormitories, cafeterias, and child care facilities.
- Ensure textbooks and other learning and training materials are not gender-stereotyped and sensitise teachers and instructors to gender equity.
According to Jayapaul Madalimuthu, Program Officer, GMR Varalakshmi Foundation, Hubli, rural economy can be improved by identifying the right resources to create employment. He also suggested that marketing the rural produce to the right customers at the correct price is important to expand the reach. In addition, he feels there has to be more impetus for starting various business units in the rural areas for more job creation.
Aseem Kumar, Founder, Director – Setrap Education Services (P) Ltd says that we can improve the rural economy through vocational education and training by citing three examples:
- Self-help co-operatives: Rural economy which is primarily agricultural driven has its ups and downs in terms of the time requirement. The time when they are not heavily engaged with tending to the fields; this time can be utilized by developing their area-based economies which can be anything from handicrafts to dairy to any unique thing of their area and develop and market the same.
- Local school / ITI or any other government infrastructure utilization: Though the government has done such an initiative for government ITI’s wherein the same are privatized; the same needs to be aggressively promoted for vocational training.
- Healthcare sector training and employment: This sector will keep becoming important as the world population keeps aging and the last few years have shown this can become the most important need for our survival. The requirement for periodical testing and basic health treatments is becoming a norm. Basic training on wellness needs to be pushed and a formal local ecosystem of support and first aid needs to be developed to ensure the well-being and thereby a more healthy productive country as a whole.
Also Read: A successful interactive workshop: Skill development and vocational education in India https://www.nationalskillsnetwork.in/a-successful-interactive-workshop-skill-development-and-vocational-education-in-india/
We hope the participants continue to express their views and influence the evolving skilling and vocational education ecosystem to create an impact. It is only through involved deliberations that we can arrive at action points that really work at the ground level by successfully overcoming the challenges.