In a memorandum submitted to the government, JBS Academy Pvt. Ltd (Mr Samir J. Shah, Chief Mentor and Director) has called for adopting a new approach to the skill development initiatives hitherto adopted, and create a new ecosystem.
National Skill Development Corporation
In the context of the demographic advantage enjoyed by the country, with 62 per cent population in the age group of 15-59 years, of which 54 per cent is below 25 years of age, the task of National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) is tremendous and, therefore, the functioning of the Corporation needs to be divided on regional parameters, the memorandum suggested.
Sector Skill Councils
Moreover, the Sector Skill Councils, the implementing arm of NSDC, need to be located in the region of dominance of the respective vocation. Thus, the Councils will be in a better position to have the pulse of the domain mandates.
Currently, there are about 700 courses offered towards vocational training. All these courses under the MES or other modules are offered on national basis. These vocational training modules should be remodelled and made geographically relevant. A district or cluster of districts could be indentified for imparting vocational training relevant for that area. This would be more meaningful and relevant for the local population. Also, it will help them fetch employment or be self-employed in their area of residence or at the most in the vicinity.
Today, vocational education/training and skill development are still looked upon as second to mainstream education. Conventional education, though very much essential and a necessity, is not creating the required jobs. Efforts need to be made to create social awareness for vocational and employable education and training and the job market available thereafter; only then will skills development be able to make a head start.
Moreover, awareness also needs to be created towards the importance of soft commercial skills training and the availability of white collared jobs. Ultimately, white and blue collared jobs go hand-in-hand. Survival of both types of work is inter-dependent. The respective sector skill councils need to be mandated on this aspect too.
Awareness on Employable Education
Awareness regarding employable education is quite low. The concept itself is yet to be digested by job seekers. It is necessary to make understand that both conventional as well as vocational education are parallel. Post 12th standard the haves have a plethora of choice for professional education and both the degree as well as professional education are carried on simultaneously.
Similarly, the have-nots have to be made fully aware of the choices available towards employable education and need to be convinced that this can be pursued while doing graduation or otherwise.
This can be done by all the stakeholders on a continuous basis. Efforts towards skills training and employable education can be supplemented by private institutes along with the other stakeholders. To do this, the respective sector skill councils need to be mandated with a time-bound annual schedule and also asked to rope in private institutions for the purpose.
Reworking the Financial Support
Under the common framework of the Central government, different Ministries offer financial support to the registered training institutes for conducting vocational training under the regular and optional trade categories. The fees are paid on per hour per candidate basis and are common for all trades. Each trade has its own set of training parameters.
It is emphasised that financial support may be categorised according to the training requirements and the quantum of support be increased substantially.
There are trades, such as in the logistics sector, which only require soft commercial training and are highly specialised in nature. Such courses may be identified and given special and higher financial support.
Exemption from GST
Currently, all income from training activities carried out by the institutions attracts GST @18 per cent. A majority of the people who are in genuine need of employment are from the socially weaker sections. They are not in a position to pay regular fees and, therefore, as a social responsibility, training institutes fall back on the government schemes for financial support under the applicable scheme.
The government schemes do not have a provision of paying GST over and above the sanctioned amount. Thus, the burden of taxation is with the respective institute.
As per the current system, once an invoice is raised, liability of GST becomes immediate despite the fact that payment from the government or its organisation takes almost three to six months. The outflow of GST has taken place without receiving the funds. Therefore, it is suggested that training activities per semay be exempt from GST.
Presently, the accreditation of educational institutes is carried out by National Assessment and Accreditation Council under the administrative control of the Ministry of HRD.
Skill development is a separate initiative and activity altogether focusing on employable education and vocational training. Both traditional and vocational education have their own separate virtues.
Therefore, it is suggested that a separate body for accreditation of vocational training institutions be constituted.
Massive efforts have been undertaken towards skill development. At the same time, efforts need to be undertaken towards continuous reskilling of the workers who have or are losing jobs, as also for those people who are on the verge of or have retired from their respective jobs.
In this context:
* A separate, full-fledged organisation could be considered or a separate division within the NSDC could be established to take care of the ever-changing employment scenario and workplace requirements.
* Reskilling is important for all sectors across the board, viz. technological, professional, vocational, educational, administrative, employable, etc.
* Massive administrative efforts need to be directed towards student counselling, internships, mid-career learning with the objective of helping individual workers to take ownership of upskilling and reskilling throughout their lives to adapt to and remain relevant in the job market, said a release.