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Digital Transformation & Policy Support Vital For Skilled Workforce

The wave of digitalization and emerging technology has not only made life easier, it has also been a vital contributor to the success of numerous educational organizations. Fortunately, our government and other relevant agencies have taken notice of this remarkable development.

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With the drive of a tremendous digital transition, the education sector has seen rapid expansion that was incomprehensible a decade ago. This has been an era of growing edtechs, online learning, changing pedagogy, and applications aimed at students, all of which have changed the way people think about imparting education in traditional ways. This transformation was also totally in sync with the parallel subject of vocational training and skill-based learnings. The wave of digitalization and emerging technology has not only made life easier, it has also been a vital contributor to the success of numerous educational organizations. Fortunately, our government and other relevant agencies have taken notice of this remarkable development.

India has seen over 400 edtech startups emerging in the last two years of the pandemic, and there is now the opportunity to take these technologies for education even to the most remote areas of the country, thus improving learning outcomes and spreading the layouts for the skilling/upskilling that will be critical for future jobs. While the Central government reduced the education budget by 6 per cent (Rs 93,223 crore) last year due to increased allocation and focus on healthcare, it is widely expected that the Centre will increase the education budget allocation by double digits in the coming fiscal year. Our Hon'ble Prime Minister's recent interest in the startup ecosystem in India would also help to provide the sector with a much-needed boost.

Another significant topic to actively focus on in this budget is, reducing 'educated unemployment,' which may be addressed by encouraging the vocational and skill-based training industry. Short term training and certificates might assist students to close the last loop and boost their chances of finding work or becoming micro-entrepreneurs. Similarly, it might also provide the industry more confidence that it is acquiring polished and 'on-the-job (OJT)' trained candidates for better outcomes.

Our country’s enormous population makes it a global hub of recruitment in the technical and skill-based job sector and the government must focus on certain aspects to encourage this growth in the educational trainings. There are multiple areas where the budget can surely focus on such as the removal or at least the reduction of GST on education and related activities and ensuring subsidised internet connectivity to students for education and training purposes. The industry must be encouraged to make a mandate in employing certified candidates or getting their present workforce trained and certified as per the NSQF standards. A major emphasis on the infrastructure investment around PLI scheme through ESDM can also translate into employment generation, livelihood for low- and semi-skilled workers, and demand for goods and services offered by Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

The budget could help bring in policy changes to increase mandate for apprenticeship (under NAPS, etc.) and focus on the export of talent in various industries across the globe. A possibility to boost smart city manpower also can help create a vibrant and self-sustaining ecosystem to attract global investors to India. Allocation of certain percentages of organizations’ CSR budget for skilling and education and focus on building capacity with skill centres for training in emerging new-age technologies such as 5G, IoT, AI/ML and other critical technologies that caters to the futuristic jobs like tele-medicine, tele-agriculture etc. would help create a better environment for the industry and  the consumers as well.

CEO, Telecom Sector Skill Council

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Arvind Bali

CEO, Telecom Sector Skill Council

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