"Skill is the unified force of experience, intellect and passion in their operation."
It is common to hear that colleges are not imparting the necessary skills, and as a result, most college graduates are not employable. This problem was so acute in India that our government had to setup the National Skill Development Corporation. While this is a welcome move, one should recognize that acquiring a skill is not three to six months learning affair, but instead it is a process of growth and nurturing of an individual. Moreover, skill is not merely knowledge; it's also a combination of passion, attitude, hard-work, perseverance, and discipline. Skilling is a fundamental part of schooling/college education itself, as opposed to being a post-college concern.
Learning takes place through reading, watching, listening, and doing. Therefore, qualifications alone are not going to make someone skilled. The process of skilling is to bring out the treasure within. In an effort to make our nation adequately skilled, policy makers should adopt a comprehensive approach. Considering that an individual's personality is nearly 80% moulded by the age of 12, skilling is mostly a function of schooling. Achieving the objective of a skilled nation is no longer a choice -it's a must. Accordingly, school education should be revamped without further delay. People should expand their knowledge periodically as technology and tools continue to evolve rapidly. Emphasis should shift from qualification to skills.
The skilling process should start as early as Grade V. During grades V to VII, children should be exposed to a wide array of interests, each linked to specific vocations, be it industrial crafts such as carpentry and metal work or handicrafts, such as basket weaving or silk screen printing, or programming, and creation of games. Not only would students enjoy working hands-on to create "products", but also develop skills? of coordination and manual exertion that will benefit them in the future. More importantly, they would also gain familiarity with different occupations and begin to discern their own proclivities.
Based on interests developed between grades V and VII, grade VIII students should be counseled into narrowing down two choices of activities, which will be studied in depth as part of the syllabus up to grade X. In grades XI and XII, one of the two vocations should be selected as the main vocation (MV), while the other pursued as the standard vocation (SV). At this point, students should also be permitted to opt for an SV different from the one chosen at the earlier stage.
Thus, by the end of grade XII, every?child would have pursued one vocation continuously for five years. Simultaneously, universal skills such as How to Learn, Communication and Financial Literacy must be imparted without fail.
Consequently, every student would have the necessary competence to stand without depending on their parents. This should give them the ability to earn a livelihood immediately after school.
No society can absorb the same skill beyond a threshold. Duly, people should be skilled in diverse aspects of human life. Economic activity of a particular region, remotely useable skills and local needs of people shall serve as the basis to skill people. Well over 3000 vocations, based on societal and industrial requirements, should be listed out and each school should offer a minimum of six vocations. Every commercial, professional or life-skill function requires the application of particular sets of skills, aptitudes and attitudes. Every individual with exposure to one or more vocations over a given period of time would naturally assimilate them.
Those who continue further education shall either continue with their chosen vocation or change along with other academic subjects. At the conclusion of three years of college education, a one-year professional certificate course should be offered to students who wish to specialize in their MV. Modes of dispensing knowledge should be broad-based so that people continue to learn even while working.
All those who choose to end their education after grade XII would serve within the lower strata of social commerce as semi-skilled tradesmen or craftsmen. Those who complete graduation would prove competent to serve society at the mid-level. Those who continue for another year to complete the professional certificate course will be at the apex, with skills suitable to serve societal requirements at high professional levels and capable of functioning in management capacities. Post-graduation in the MV or other subjects should be aimed at conducting research and facilitate higher learning, in order to pursue specialized jobs at the highest competency level.
Any skill without right values is dangerous. Hence one should be mindful of the fact that family and immediate community will play an important role in making individuals a value addition to society. In a county like India, large portion of population should be trained to take up self-employment rather than depending on others. Local bodies and schools should be made responsible to ensure everyone is put into the right career track. They are, after all, the future of the world.
Naga Prasad Tummala
Mr. Naga Prasad Tummala is the Chairman of People Combine Business Initiatives Ltd. He focuses on the corporate affairs, HR and Business Development of the company. His vision and mission towards achieving the target has brought the company into the rank now. He is a Post Graduate Degrees in MBA- HR and PGPMAX from ISB, and also holds another Mater Degree in MSc- Mathematics.