Skill development in higher learning institutions: a micro analysis.

AuthorPalanithurai, G.
PositionBy Invitation


21st century opportunity for India to achieve greater economic prosperity lies in making use of the youth and the working age population. To utilize this new opportunity of demographic dividend effectively India needs to impart adequate and appropriate skills to our youth. India has missed many opportunities in the past but ean not afford to miss this one as it would create more pressure on the state and society. It requires vision, mission, commitment, strategies, institutions, resources, synergy, political and administrative will and a movement. The task is very complex and the assignment is huge and hence to achieve the same leadership is crucial and critical. Leadership from the office of the Prime Minister to the Gram Panchayat plays a critical role in transforming India by skilling and empowering our youth population. Everyone at the operational level needs awareness and consciousness, more particularly strategic action with a sense of commitment. At every level a clear understanding and concrete actions are the imperatives. In India we have a policy (Ministry of Labor & Employment, 2009), a coordination board (1), a framework (2), financial allocation (3), and a target (4) for skilling our youth. And yet we find the whole exercise of skilling our youth and preparing them for a new challenge is tardy and slow. A total target of skilling 72.82 lakhs was accepted by various central government Ministries, and the NSDC, for the year 2013-14. Table 1 shows the allocated targets and the latest status of achievements reported by the National Skill Development Agency.

All exercises meant for skilling our youth are moving in snail's pace. There are many stakeholders in this exercise. What we need is more synergetic action by coordinating different agencies and stakeholders. Of all, the end users are the youths in the educational institutions. The present article tries to analyze the role of higher learning institutions in skilling the students and how this process of skilling is being viewed by the stakeholders. In this article we focus on the students coming out from the arts and science stream of higher learning institutions as they constitute still 56% of the total students passing out from the total higher learning institutions.

The Problem

On the one hand we have adequate youth for employment and on the other the market faces shortage of workforce for its transactions in India. This gap between supply of and demand for workforce is due to the failure in preparing the youth for the labor market. Obviously our youth have not been properly trained in skills needed to the market. Now as our economy grows, to sustain the economy, it is felt that the workforce has to be adequately skilled. Against this background increasing realization has come to all stakeholders that skilling of our youth should become a development movement in India. To transform the youth into a capacitated workforce, they have to be trained and more particularly in skills needed to the market. While preparing the youth for the market adequate care has to be taken to suit the requirements of the market, and by which the skill gap has to be reduced. The skilling process takes place through educational institutions from the school to higher learning institutions. Since independence our education system did not give much attention to the development of skills. Despite the arguments of M.K.Gandhi on skill based learning our educational pandits started paying attention on liberal education oriented to acquire knowledge. Adequate opportunities had been given to test the education system evolved by M.K.Gandhi. Even the fourteen Rural Institutes created for experimenting the Gandhian framework of education have been merged into the liberal education system in India (Palanithurai, 2012). Realization came at a later stage that skilling is an imperative need and governments took efforts to catch up. This skilling exercise is also for industries and service sectors.

Despite the earnest efforts on the part of the educational institutions the products coming out from the academic institutions are of poor quality in terms of precise skills needed to industry and other sectors. It is more obvious from the lamentations of the business leaders that the skill levels of our students are poor and unsuited to the industry and service sectors. This is about the conditions of the technical institutions. There is yet another segment in higher learning system called Arts and Science stream which is still predominant in the education sector. In the total human power coming out from the education sector, 56% of them are from the Arts and Science stream (Palit, 2009). But the students coming out from the arts and science stream do not focus their attention either on industry or service sector for their employment. They rely on government and educational sectors. It is only after globalization their attention was drawn towards industry, and service sectors.

Transforming this segment of the students from arts and science stream into a productive workforce will certainly help the economy to grow, reduce unemployment rate and mitigate the social unrest in the society. But skilling of the students of arts and science stream of higher learning institutions is a difficult and stupendous task and yet it has to be done. Against this background it is proposed to investigate the skilling process of the students of arts and science stream in conventional universities from the stakeholders' point of view.


To get answer to the above questions a focused group discussion was conducted in a higher learning institution (Gandhigram Rural Institute--Deemed University, a centrally funded Deemed University located in a rural setting) among the students who are pursuing postgraduate programmes in social sciences. The discussion was about their perception of the skills required for the market; the skills needed for them to be made employable and the system and processes needed to this task. The whole discussion was held in different spells and in different settings. While conducting the focused group...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT