Young India is the talk of the world. Even an iota of rationality can enable one see the immense human resource potential available in this country. Hence the big challenges we face today are regarding the policies, methods, tools and techniques for realizing this potential. This challenge manifests primarily as lack of skills, jobs and entrepreneurs. Development of all these three facets is critical not just for economic prosperity, but for social stability too.
Large and valuable resource endowments are not a solution by itself. Many African nations and lesser-developed states such as Bihar in India stand testimony to this fact. While they possess all the resources worthy of development and growth, it does not seem to happen. We need initiatives that can turn the potential into reality.
India does not have a challenge with policy formulation. Many of our well-designed policies face the heat when it comes to implementation. The National Skill Development Council, The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, etc are classic cases of this. The country has been toying with numerous policies for skilling youth. The present Government’s efforts at attacking all three challenges seem more concerted. The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship is now rightly positioned to look at skills, jobs and entrepreneurship through a single lens. If the situation is seen right, the solutions drawn can be relevant and effective.
Skills, jobs and entrepreneurship are all dynamic. Their constantly changing forms and manifestations are what make them interesting. Hence I believe that one of the primary challenges with regards to solving the skilling puzzle is how we see it. When jobs of tomorrow are not going to be the jobs of today, how can we expect the youth of tomorrow to survive by learning the skills of today? Hence it is important that our educationalists and policy formulators take entrepreneurial attempts to redefine the skill, jobs and entrepreneurship problems in fresh light. Take bold steps to speculate the possible nature of these in a decade from now. Provide training, apprenticeships and mentoring for these new skills. The newness in this challenge makes the whole setup a startup, an experiment, and an exploration. It is through experiments that the world advances. Why not speculate calculatedly, imagine creatively, and experiment boldly?
Training trainers especially on skills, which translates to skilling trainers, is a big challenge. In their case it is not only the skill that needs to be imparted but also the mindset change necessary. Most teachers believe they know everything. Most teachers also remain outdated with regards to the developments and trends of the world. Hence breaking this rigidity in the minds of the teachers, making them upgrade their skills and ensuring they constantly practice their skills is an important activity for the skill india program. We need a solution that truly solves the Indian challenge, the Indian way.
Excerpt from my views shared as a Panelist at: the recently concluded Third National Conference – Youth 2025 at Jaipuria Institute of Management, Jaipur.