India still gives more importance to degrees than skills – Manish Mohan, EVP – SDN’s exclusive interview with Times of India (Online)

By May 20, 2016 No Comments

The country still has a long way to go before becoming a skill-based society, says Manish Mohan of Wadhwani Foundation

The government should review minimum wages for different skills and set up policies to recognise skilled workers, says Manish Mohan, executive vice president-Skills Development Network at Wadhwani Foundation.

manish mohan“In the quest to meet numbers, we should not forget to train youth in higher skills and not stop at basic entry-level service skills,” he said in an interview to TimesJobs.com.He also said corporations need contribute towards training needs of their industry, even if the individuals are not expected to join the company.

Edited excerpts from the interview:

How can the government help individuals with vocational training/ skill development? How are companies providing a helping hand to make India a skill-based hub?

The government is running many schemes to help individuals take up vocational training. Most of these schemes are free for the student and include not just training but also other incentives like travel and paid internships. What the government should do is to stop this free training. It is important for the youth to realise the importance of training. Free training should only be provided in rare situations, like BPL youth.

The corporate sector in my view is not doing enough for making India a skill-based hub. Most corporates do a lot of training, but it is mainly hiring related. Corporates need to contribute towards the training needs of their industry overall, even if the individuals are not expected to join the company. Additionally, corporates must actively participate in curriculum design, providing support for imparting skills through adjunct faculty and commit to internship and apprenticeship programs. The corporates should also help in opening their factories and lab equipment for students undergoing skill development in neighboring areas.

How is India moving towards a skill-based society and what are the hurdles?

India still has a long way to becoming a skill-based society. The biggest hurdle is the social stature of skills and skilled people. As a society, we still give more importance to degrees rather than actual skills. This is reflected in the wages we pay to people with hard skills like carpenters and plumbers. One of the ways in which the government can help is to review minimum wages for different skills and set up policies to recognise the skilled workers. In the quest to meet numbers, we should not forget to train youth in higher skills and not stop at basic entry-level service skills.

How can technology help vocational training and education of the youth?

Technology enables us to overcome the severe shortage of trainers and provides a mechanism of delivering consistent training adhering to quality standards. Technology can also be used to teach complex concepts easily, enabling a wider reach for students and teachers. Many more expert trainers can reach out to a much larger audience through technology which can also connect employers to skilled workforce enhancing their employment opportunities.

To creating a cohesive ecosystem for men and women entrepreneurs, how can roadblocks for women entrepreneurs be removed?

Women play a key role in the country’s growth, both economically and socially. It is imperative that women are not left behind and be encouraged to take on a greater role in our economic growth. Providing incentives for women entrepreneurs will provide a much-needed boost to our growth.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reports that the annual growth of the Indian economy could improve 2.4 per cent if the country implements pro-growth and pro-gender policies.

Creating women focused funding, building women-centric mentor networks, providing easier access to education and training, and simplify women oriented support systems like child care and family support can go a long way in harnessing the natural strengths that women bring to entrepreneurship. To remove roadblocks, a National Grievances’ Forum should set up where the problems that women entrepreneurs face in day-to-day work environments are quickly addressed.

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