Dr. Roopak Vashistha,
CEO & DG, AMHSSC
Dr. Roopak Vashistha, CEO & DG, AMH SSC talks about the impact of NEP-2020 on skill training, job creation, and employment chances with Education Post
Q. Recently, the Government of India has launched a new education policy. How helpful will it be for the skill ecosystem?
The Gov. of India has very rightly gone by the phrase ’Catch them young’. Till now, the School ecosystem had been running with skill courses being introduced from the 9th standard onwards. This means that skill courses were being taught in classes 9th to 12th. The Sector Skill Councils had MOU with State Education Boards and the students were assessed and certified by a third-party assessment ecosystem. Now with the new Education Policy, the subject of skills would start from 6th standard onwards, though; from 6th to 8th standard the students would be given only introductory knowledge so that their interest in skills could develop.
Q. The new education policy has much focus on imparting technical and vocational education to students. In such a situation, what will be the role of the Sector Skill Council, and what kind of change is keeping in mind?
As mentioned above, Sector Skill Councils have already signed MOU with State Education Boards. Now, the new course curricula would have to be created for the students of the 6th to 8th standards. The drafting of course curricula for the students of 6th to 8th, however, would be done in such a way that the youngsters develop a keen interest in skilling and don’t only depend on the education stream post 12th standard and opt for Vocational courses, like B.Voc/M.Voc etc. or start their own work after completing 12th standard. Sector Skill Councils are actively working for improvising the deliverables as per the new Education Policy.
Q. The education and skilling world is shifting on e-learning, but the Sector Skill Council has not been able to adopt e-learning so far. What are the challenges faced in adopting e-learning and what are the plans for the future?
First of all, let me clarify that SSCs are not facing any challenge in developing e-learning protocols. The fact is that while one can resort to e-learning in the Education stream, there are limitations in the skilling ecosystem in resorting fully to e-learning mode, as skilling consists of theory, as well as practical. Rather practical are more as compared to theory and it would be wrong to start teaching skills thru e-learning mode, as the students would not be able to learn practical, which are an integral part of the process. There seems to be a myth everywhere that e-learning can replace the entire education and skilling ecosystem. It would be detrimental to the learning process in skilling by depending too much on e-learning. However, having said so, we are switching over to e-learning, wherever possible and are, in fact, on the verge of getting many e-learning modules of our various Job roles made.
Q. After the lockdown, now state governments are also focusing more on skill development. Have you talked or got any offer from any state government so far, or what strategy are you adopting for expansion in the states?
During the Lockdown, lacs of workers have migrated to their hometowns. The state govt is quite active to not only help them out but also increase their skill sets so as to enable them to start earning there itself. In this series, Uttar Pradesh has taken a lead by training and certifying migrant workers in various trades, including the Apparel sector. Till now tens of thousands of workers have since been trained, assessed, and certified. With this certification, they shall become eligible for various kind of loans, including Mudra Loan and loans from various Corporations, like National Backward Classes Financial Development Corporation etc. Bihar and many other states are soon starting similar programs for migrant workers. In addition to this, the PMKVY-3 focuses more on states now and most of the skilling schemes would mainly be implemented with the active participation of States, including involvement of District level officials.
Q. Technology is changing the whole world. What new technology is being adopted in skill training and emphasizing skilling in the future?
As mentioned above, all the Sector Skill Councils are getting their online training delivery process strengthened. In addition to this, the assessment protocols are also being converted into Online mode. Even in the offline mode of Training, there is a scope of digitizing the training delivery process. AMH SSC has already started digitizing the content which would be helpful offline, as well as an online mode of Training. So, technology plays a very vital role in the skilling ecosystem.
Q. Few State governments are setting up a skill university. Some private institutions are also moving in this direction. With this initiative, what kind of challenges will the Sector Skill Council have to face and what are the preparations for that?
With the Skill Universities coming in and many private institutions joining the skilling ecosystem, the entire ecosystem will get strengthened. We don’t see this as any challenge. The only expectation from the Gov. of India is that credible players may only be allowed to be part of this ecosystem so that the level of the skilling sector doesn’t go low.
Q. What is the message for the youth especially for college-going students?
My message to the youngsters, especially the College students is that gone are the days when we used to aspire for a job only as Engineer, Doctor, or Lawyer. These days Govt of India has brought in enough respect to skills and the subject of skill no more is seen inferior to any of the above-mentioned professions. E.g. I urge the youth to take admissions in B.Voc courses across the country, especially in Apparel Technology. It’s a graduation course and they can do two things post doing this course; one that they can start their own Boutiques or become Freelance Asst Fashion Designer or if they wish to work, they can become Management Trainees in any big Export House and would progress in officer level cadre. Progression in the skilling sector is very fast.
The world is changing and so should we keep pace with such change.