“Quality should be seen as an enabler and not a roadblock”, says Ms. Ajita Karve, Principal Lead – Design and Quality, Tata STRIVE.
Learn about Tata STRIVE courses and its initiatives in skill development – https://www.nationalskillsnetwork.in/tata-strive/
In a race to chase the numbers and targets, quality often takes a back seat while implementing skill development programmes and initiatives. It is high time that training companies and organisations set rational quality parameters in skill development programmes.
To learn and understand more about ensuring quality in skill development initiatives, insights from Tata STRIVE Quality Framework (TSQF), the importance of adopting a quality framework, the role of technology in enabling quality among others, we interacted with Ms. Ajita Karve, Principal Lead – Design and Quality, Tata STRIVE.
Below are a few excerpts from our conversation. You can watch the full video on our YouTube channel –
Q: What are some of the key parameters that determine the quality of skill development programmes?
A: We have a heterogeneous understanding of the term ‘quality’. In skill development, the way we define quality differs from person to person based on our role. For example, for someone, it might be designing a quality programme, for someone else it could be the number of students mobilsed, etc.
In any skill development initiative, there are two key parameters that determine quality:
- Relevance of a skill development programme – how relevant is a skill development programme as per the industry demand
- Robustness of the infrastructure – how robust is the infrastructure, be it technical, physical or cultural
These, along with standardised processes and continuous outcome monitoring would be a wonderful collaborative effort to achieve quality.
Q: Please share your insights on TSQF and similar other frameworks developed by Tata STRIVE.
A: At Tata STRIVE, we built an indigenous quality framework called the Tata STRIVE Quality Framework (TSQF). It was built on the ethos of the Tata Business Excellence Model (TBEM) and Tata Education Excellence Programme (TEEP).
Largely, the framework focuses on giving value to the stakeholder, contributing to their success and organisational effectiveness, and ensuring continuous learning, rather than focusing only on numbers or compromising quality to achieve quantity.
TSQF is based on four key parameters –
- Robustness of operational processes
- Teaching and learning practices
- Safe and comfortable infrastructure
- Results and outcomes
At Tata STRIVE, whatever is the skill development model/programme/intervention, we make TSQF an integral part of the operationalisation of every intervention.
Know more about TSQF here – https://www.nationalskillsnetwork.in/ensuring-quality-in-skill-development-the-tsqf-perspective/
Q: Quality is an abstract term. What is the right way to understand quality in skill development initiatives?
A: Let me start with an example of quality assessments. While assessing a student, having a quality framework in place is not about checking off the items from a list. But it is about encouraging people to do the right things at right time and catching them do that!
The quality framework must be made integral to every part of the process which is operationalised, which includes onboarding partners, vendors, or starting a new programme or initiative.
For example, placements have become a huge obstacle in the skilling industry. So, it is important to see if the trainee is placed in the right company. We demand evidence if that person is placed in the area of what he/she is trained in or not.
Q: How can training organizations integrate quality in every aspect of their skilling initiatives?
A: Quality should be seen as an enabler and not a roadblock. Quality ensures standardisation with a clear indication of all the processes to achieve final goals. Investing in a quality thought process would help.
Here’s a four-step approach for any organisation to start towards the journey of quality:
- Define – Define what quality means to your organisation in each stage of the value chain and make sure you stay by it
- Design – Design processes that assure you of fulfilling that quality outcome you have set
- Deploy – Have a mechanism by which you deploy and ensure you have done the right things
- Determine – Determine if all the desired outcomes have been achieved or not
If the outcomes are not as desired, one needs to go back and start from wherever it went wrong.
Q: What is the role of technology in achieving quality in skill development programmes?
A: Technology is playing a critical role and acts as an enabler. Thanks to TCS, technology has been an integral part of Tata STRIVE’s programmes from day one.
Ways technology acts as an enabler –
- Technology acts as an enabler in every part of the skill chain, like, mobilising, collecting data, ensuring the integrity of the data, minimising data asymmetry, etc.
- Technology acts as an enabler in helping organisations reach the last mile and helping students get skilled and trained
- Instigating hybrid models of learning
- Supporting learning processes with blended learning or e-learning
- Technology-enabled assessments and thereby maintaining the integrity
Also, in standardised data collecting tools, metrics, technology reduces person dependence. Hence, technology plays a vital role in every framework.
Q: What are some of the key points for our readers to take away?
A: Some of the key takeaways would be:
- Standardising the skilling ecosystem – It is one of the key things we need for a qualitative outcome
- Simply the processes – Have a framework in place, write out the processes, and standardise the processes.
By doing this, one builds efficiencies, and by engaging the right type of manpower, using technology as an enabler, and keeping an eye on the latest updates would aid in achieving quality.