Skill India: The way forward in higher education: A national consultative seminar – TISS, Mumbai

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Skill India mission, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015, has made significant progress and aims to educate and train over 100 million youth through various schemes and programmes in India by 2022. Under the mission, all skills initiatives were brought under the umbrella of the newly created Ministry of Skills Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE). Currently, several central and state ministries, aside from MSDE, are also conducting vocational education and training (VET) to meet the proposed target.

Under Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), several higher educational institutes have taken up this mammoth task of providing skills education by offering Bachelor of Vocation and Master’s of Vocation degrees. This consultative seminar – conducted jointly by the Maharashtra State Skills Development Society (MSSDS), Government of Maharashtra; Tata Institute of Social Sciences – School of Vocational Education (TISS-SVE) and Observer Research Foundation (ORF) – will focus on the role of higher educational institutes in contributing to this target. It will discuss current practices for effectiveness and sustainability, evaluate policy gaps, address integration of various skills programmes and deliberate on international best practices in VET in higher education.

The seminar will begin with experts enunciating concepts in skilling, followed by discussions on achievements, gaps and drawbacks of Skill India mission. The seminar aims to assess and gather experiences from various stakeholders through the process and create a fine print for the way ahead in accomplishing the massive task of skilling India’s population.

Date and Venue: 15th to 17th October, 2018 at TISS Convention Hall, Mumbai

Online Registration : Click here to register.

Skill India Seminar TISS Mumbai

Following is  the tentative program for the national consultative seminar on Skill India – The Way Forward in Higher Education.

Day 1: October 15, 2018

4:00 pm to 7:00 pm: Inaugural session setting the tone for the workshop

This would be followed by dinner.

Day 2: October 16, 2018

09:30 am to 10: 00 am: Keynote I Topic: Changing landscapes in skills ecosystem

This keynote will throw light on the entire movement of skills education and training in India and how it has evolved to reach its current state. The speaker will particularly focus on the roles of various stakeholders such as the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), MHRD, NSDC, NSDA, SSCs, and State Skill Development Missions and their contribution in skilling the working population.

10:00 am to 10:30 am: Keynote II Topic: Modalities of skills education for the social sector

Skilling in social sector is distinctive and the demand and supply graph looks different from other conventional sectors such as services, manufacturing, construction, etc. Although there is a huge demand for skilled people in both healthcare and education, vocation education and training is at present not really synchronized with the needs of the sector. In particular the role of educational institutions in contributing to this sector is not well understood. The speaker will touch on the specific challenges in this sector with detailed analysis and case studies.

The session would be followed by a tea break.

11:00 am to 1 pm: Plenary Session 1 – Topic: Concepts in Skilling: Understanding NOS, QPs and related terms

The skilling ecosystem in India has emerged to be the most complex owing to reasons such as adaptation of international concepts, involvement of multiple stakeholders, and government interest in fast tracking the process of skilling, among others. There are variety of terminologies and concepts that need clarity and understanding from stakeholders as well as participants in the skills ecosystem. Some such as the National Occupation Standard, Qualification Packs, job roles, sectors, need to be enunciated and explained by experts through the understanding of their origin, logic and functioning in the current scenario.

The session would be followed by a lunch break.

 2 pm to 3:30 pm: Plenary Session 2 – Topic: B.Voc courses at universities and colleges: The learning so far

In 2015, the University Grants Commission (UGC) provided grants to the tune of Rs 1.85 crore to colleges across the country to start Bachelor of Vocational Education (BVoc) courses, to skill students in particular sectors.[1] After almost three years, it is time to evaluate the efficacy and success of these models. It is also important to understand how these colleges chose the respective sectors, procured trainers and students, assured employability and utilised the grant in the most efficient manner. Since these BVoc courses are run within the established institutes of higher education, it is imperative to understand if this could be a way going forward in skilling and integrating it with formal education.

The session would be followed by a tea break.

4 pm to 5:30 pm: Plenary Session 3 – Topic: Skills Universities: The emerging models

With the renewed interest in skills education and training, various state governments, private players and even the central government has supported the growth of standalone skills universities that would focus on imparting work-integrated training and offering skills-specific courses. While some are still struggling with teething problems, others have been able to build a relatively successful model that needs evaluation. It is pertinent at this stage to learn from their trials, challenges, failures and successes as samples for the upcoming skills universities.

The session would be followed by dinner.

Day 3: October 17, 2018

09:30 am to 10: 00 am: Keynote III – Topic: Integration of existing ecosystems in skills development in India

There are fragmented efforts in skill development in the country and each is creating a group that is disconnected from each other and the employment landscape. For instance, 17 central ministries have skilling programmes, MHRD offers courses in skill development in colleges, Central government has schemes such as PMKVY and DDUGKY that have similar goals but different procedure. The speaker, through his expertise, will comment on ways to integrate all platforms and better coordinate all programmes.

10:00 am to 10:30 am: Keynote IV – Topic: Financing and Economics of Skill India

Financing of skills programmes has been one of the major concerns for stakeholders in the skills ecosystem. There are very few models that have been able to reach the target without compromising on the economic viability of the investment made. While industry participation is key to all skill development initiatives, there is no one solution to effectively address the economics of the same. In the absence of any onus from any stakeholder, except the government, most skilling programmes are failing to address the real challenge of training the workforce in an economically sustainable manner.

The session would be followed by a tea break.

 11:00 am to 1 pm: Plenary Session 4: Topic: Understanding international best practices for India

There are a few countries that have been able to successfully implement a vocational education and training system that are reaping results. Although India has borrowed a few aspects from international models, their viability in the Indian context is still questionable. Thus, it is important to discuss some such global models in the Indian context and a most feasible way needs to be chalked out from each that can be adopted in India. Some countries that are known for successful experiments are South Korea, Germany, Singapore, China and Switzerland.

The session would be followed by a lunch break.

 2 pm to 3:30 pm: Plenary Session 5 – Topic: Analysing employability in the skills ecosystem

Various stakeholders are experimenting with skills education and training by ways of short-term certificate courses, diplomas, and degrees, but there is an urgent need to evaluate the employment prospects that these offer. Are these relevant job profiles or generic ones, is there a demand for these sectors in the industry, are industries interacting with these colleges – these are a few questions that need to be answered by the major stakeholders. This session will prioritise the opinions and viewpoints of the industry and researchers who are tracking the employment aspect of all the currently active skills projects in the country.

The session would be followed by a tea break.

4 pm to 5:30 pm: Plenary Session 6- Topic: Short-term courses in skill ecosystem: An overview

Various government bodies and higher education institutes are running short-term courses to enhance the skilled workforce. There are several approaches to offering these courses and this session aims to understand the viability and sustainability of these approaches.

The session would be followed by dinner.

[1]                                 UGC, 2015, “Vocational Courses in Colleges”, Press Information Bureau, GoI, March 18, 2015.http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=11731