The debate on schooling vs skilling is becoming increasingly relevant in India due to the rate of unskilled, unemployed youth. Only 2.3 percent of the country's present workforce has undergone formal skill training.
Our country is running in sharp contrast to countries like Japan and South Korea where over 80 per cent of the workforce has been trained in an employable skill.
Due to the lack of skill inculcation in India, only a small fraction of graduates find steady, productive jobs. This has led to a major chunk of India's youth being segregated into 3 major categories:
Research suggests that around one million people enter the Indian job market each year. However, due to the lack of training, they remain jobless, contributing almost nothing to the economy. As around 117 million people wait to be absorbed into new, skill-based jobs, the need for skilling becomes harrowingly real.
Inculcating vocational skills in students can start right from the schooling level. But, it cannot possibly replace schooling. Here’s a balanced unbiased discussion.
Schooling: a child’s first step to the real world
A child is barely 4-5 years old when he /she starts his/her schooling. This is the first time he/she gets introduced to the real world outside the home. Children get exposed to diversity in terms of multiple cultures and religions.
By interacting with their teachers and fellow students, children develop communication and interpersonal skills. They acquire indispensable personality traits such as ethics, tolerance, and empathy.
Once they communicate with other students, they learn how to understand and accept differing viewpoints.
While these are very basic skills, teaching them in a structured manner at school helps students retain and repeat them in a practical setting.
The foundation stones of learning, including reading and writing, are also taught at this early stage. Evidently, schooling is essential for students as this is where they begin to build their individual personalities.
Importance of skilling in the current market
Currently, there is a huge disconnect between the demand and supply of skilled manpower in India.
While there are millions of workers willing to fill positions, they simply lack the skills to do so. By focusing on skill-building in fields like IT, communication, healthcare, automotive, retail and hospitality, institutions can start preparing students for jobs right from the outset of their middle school or high school education.
Learning such skills at an early age promotes innovative thinking among students, making them more productive and contributive towards various industries in India.
Through vocational, outcome-based learning, schools can impart confidence and competency in students.
Clearly, there are multiple benefits of skilling, apart from the direct boost to the economy. Skill trained children grow up to become employable, confident and talented individuals.
SKILLING WITHIN SCHOOLING: WHY SKILLING AND SCHOOLING SHOULD WORK SIMULTANEOUSLY?
All firms in India are in search of employees who are specialists in technical skills, soft skills, and life skills. Employers prefer candidates who are competent at their work while also being refined, smart individuals.
The basic principles of life, such as kindness, empathy, and bonhomie, are as important as management and technical skills.
While skilling will prepare students for jobs, schooling will prepare them for life. So, it is conducive to the all-round development of students to offer training in both hard and soft skills
A confident and competent workforce that drives the economy, can only be achieved by providing skilling and schooling together.
If both requirements are met, there will soon be a time in India, when no one could be attached to the uneducated or the unemployable tag.
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