India Skills Report 2016 mentions that “India has gradually evolved as a knowledge-based economy due to the abundance of capable, flexible and qualified human capital. However, there is a need to further develop and empower the human capital to ensure the country’s global competitiveness. Despite the emphatic stress laid on education and training in this country, there is still a shortage of skilled manpower to address the mounting needs and demands of the economy.”
And due to the kind of education practices inherited from the Prussian Times, there is a lack of adaptation to the skill based approach that is now needed.
I have witnessed this in a lot of organizations. For example, I happened to visit a small school recently, and got an opportunity to engage in a conversation with the Head. In a matter of a few minutes, this was what I understood about it:
- The teachers were working at a very low salary, which was barely enough to help them look after themselves.
- They had the required educational qualifications that are necessary to be in that position.
- But they had minimum communication skills.
- As far as teaching was concerned, the only methods they relied upon were those which were driven down by the higher authorities, which were not sufficient to engage the kids.
Here is what the school expected: An activity based learning process, and a skill development centric curriculum. But did they have the resources or the staff to develop this system? Unfortunately, the answer is no. And this is where the centre of the entire issue lies.
The organizations know what to expect and the kind of approach they need to have to compete in today’s economy, but the gap arises when they are unable to find the right people to do this job. The people they currently have in their organization are the ones who fail to adapt to the new approach because they are so accustomed to living with the old one. And evidently, since the organization is deprived of its needs, the value of employing most of the staff considerably decreases since they are not able to keep up with the expectations of the organization and hence evidently, they receive low salaries and end up feeling that they are not receiving what they are worth of.
In the article Bridging The Skills Gap, it is highlighted that with 15 million youngsters entering the workforce every year, 75% are not job ready. India will need 500 million skilled workers by 2022 to meet the demands of a growing economy. To make the most of this abundance of youth population we have, there needs to be acceptance of their skills, their needs and their importance.
Right now, the education system in countries like India does not provide the kind of training that is required for skill development and which would fill the skill gap. There is a huge imbalance between few skilled people and fewer jobs in India. And this can only be improved if enough skilled manpower is created which can be made possible by investing enough in it, because the employers just cannot always wait for fully employable candidates to come at their doors.5