Just Learn India Director addresses the Importance of Skill Development in Higher Education for India’s progress
NOIDA, India, May 17, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Just Learn India, a part of Just Rojgar Solutions Pvt. Ltd., is a a 360-degree education and skilling enterprise engaged in creating 21st-century learning solutions based on VR / AR, AI / ML, gamification of learning, among others. Just Learn works with some of the top Indian and international organizations in public & private sectors, and works for the education, skilling, upskilling, reskilling of workforce at industries, and for fresh graduates.
Ms. Aakriti Chaudhary, Co-Founder and Director of Just Rojgar Solutions – Just Learn India talks about the importance of addressing the skill-gap between the existing skillsets of people and the industry requirements.
Education serves as a vital foundation for the growth and advancement of individuals and nations. It is an investment that pays off in the present and secures a prosperous future. Nations typically formulate their unique education systems to reflect their socio-cultural and economic identity while adapting to contemporary challenges and maximizing potential opportunities.
India, being one of the world’s youngest nations, with over 50% of its population under 30 years of age, holds significant potential. By 2025, India is projected to contribute a staggering 25% to the global workforce. To harness this demographic dividend fully, India must establish a high-quality, affordable, flexible, and relevant educational framework that caters to the needs of individuals, the economy, and society as a whole.
A pressing need to address the Skills Gap
India currently faces a considerable disparity between the demand and supply of skilled workforce required by the economy. It is not true that there is a lack of jobs in the country, however the existing skillsets imparted by academic institutions mismatches with the requirements of the industry. Unfortunately, many higher education institutions in the country remain disconnected from the demands of the job market. The market’s perception of skill-oriented courses is often marred by low credibility and limited acceptance among employers. Additionally, the traditional higher education system in India exhibits rigidity in terms of course durations, teaching schedules, study locations, and subject choices. However, a global trend is emerging, favouring competence-based education systems that prioritize practical skills and application. To ensure nationwide recognition of the skills acquired by learners, curricula and certification systems need to align with the National Occupational Standards.
The National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) : with their caveats
In response to the need for nationally standardized skill-related programs, the Government of India established the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) on December 27, 2013. The aim of NSQF was to serve as an integrated education and competency-based skill framework, offering multiple pathways within vocational and general education. This framework enables learners to progress from one level to a higher one, providing opportunities for certification at various stages, such as certificates, diplomas, advanced diplomas, degrees, or postgraduate diplomas.
However, the limitation of NSQF is its fixed framework that does not get updated regularly to keep pace with the changing industry requirements and the macroenvironment at large. Moreover, NSQF is focused primarily at fresh graduates entering the workforce and misses out on offering curriculums for upskilling workforce already engaged in jobs in various industries. Lastly, in terms of pedagogy, NSQF does not include innovative methods of teaching and content-delivery that would be more apt for 21st-century learning.
The Role of Community Colleges
Recognizing the need to expand skill-based programs in higher education, the 12th Five Year Plan Document of the Planning Commission emphasizes the establishment of Community Colleges (CC). Community Colleges aim to serve various needs, including providing career-oriented education and skills to students seeking direct entry into the workforce. These colleges also offer training and education programs for local employers, remedial education for secondary school graduates who are not yet ready for traditional colleges, and general interest courses for personal development within the community.
The community college model offers a flexible and open education system, catering to the lifelong learning needs of the community. By offering both skill development and traditional coursework, these colleges create pathways for learners to transition directly into the employment sector or pursue higher education. This model fosters a synergistic relationship between the community, learners, and the job market.
The Benefits and Objectives
The main objectives of community colleges are to make higher education relevant to learners and the community, integrate essential skills into the higher education system, provide skill-based education for students interested in entering the workforce, offer employable and certifiable skills based on National Occupational Standards (NOSs), and upgrade and certify traditional or acquired skills regardless of age. Fostering a lifelong learning attitude is vital for success in the ever-evolving workplace, and continuous skill development is not only crucial for employment but also for entrepreneurial endeavours.
To achieve this ambitious goal, the involvement of reliable agencies is paramount. Currently, our state lacks consistent provision of skill-based education that meets national and international standards.
Know more about Just Learn at www.justlearnindia.in
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