India Losing Its Competitiveness Due to Lack of Focus on Vocational Training
All developed countries have strong working class with good skills and knowledge to perform in manufacturing and services sectors. According to Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM), 70% of working population in Germany, 80% in Japan and 95% in South Korea has vocational training. This population of skilled workers is one of the main driving forces for these countries to economic growth and social development.
You will be surprised, in fact, annoyed to know that only 5% of working population in India has vocational education. People are totally neglecting the vocational education that should have been the backbone of education system in India. As a result, many people are becoming either office boys or certificate holders with various professional or post graduate degrees that are unemployable by industry.
9 in 10 jobs in India are unskilled
Many people in India discontinue studies after 10th or 12th standard. World Bank (WB) says that more than 95% attend primary school but only 40% of Indians attend secondary school. Most of the school dropouts are getting into low-end jobs like office boys, attenders, security guards, etc. The WB also says, “Over 90 percent of employment in India is in the ‘informal’ sector, with employees working in relatively low productivity jobs.”
Professional education craze
The remaining lot of students is pursuing professional degrees. Even those who actually should do vocational are doing professional degree. Environment is encouraging people to pursue professional academic degrees – huge number of seats in professional colleges, fee reimbursement schemes by govt., poor quality faculty and examination process, to name a few.
Now, with professional degree in hand, they are neither interested to do skilled jobs nor are they qualified to do a professional job. They actually are goats, but are labeled as tigers. They don’t have the characteristic of a tiger.
All engineers and management trainees
Imagine India with all engineers and business management professionals. It is stupidity to not have any construction workers, painters, carpenters, mechanics and plumbers who can do skilled jobs and have all professional degree holders who cannot do any job.
Make no mistake; we are not advocating everyone to do vocational education. Based on academic abilities and family environment, one should sensibly think and pursue the education that is most suitable.
- Primary education – It lays the foundation and is focused on basic things. Everybody should do this.
- Secondary education (8th to 12th standard) – It makes students ready for a job, builds confidence to do job. By this time, the person will be matured enough to independently make decision whether to pursue higher education or join work force.
- College education – It helps the person build ability to do white collared job well. College education for a small number of people having high scholastic aptitude or opportunity or both.
- Professional education – Advanced education for academically gifted people. They gain intricate knowledge in a specific field to be professionals.
- Vocational education – Vocational education is for those who are gifted with skills but academically are modest. It is also for those who need to be financially self-sufficient quickly.
Even India needs skilled people at this point of time. There is a huge requirement in skilled services and manufacturing sectors. These sectors need people with knowledge, skills, attitude, and experience. India needs more of painters, masons, carpenters, chefs, mechanics and machine operators. Remember, these positions are far better than office boys or attenders.
Advantage of demographic dividend
India has a big chunk of young population that can work. Economists say India’s working population will reach 95 crore by 2026. It is said that by 2020, average Indian age will be 29 years whereas that in China, US and Western Europe will be 37, 45 and 48 years respectively. This shows that working population in other countries is moving towards retirement whereas Indian population towards work. This is the demographic dividend advantage India has today and to leverage it, we need more skilled employees.
Assume there’s a family with mother working as a maid (making 6k per month) and father as a chowkidaar/watchman (making 6k per month) and 3 kids. Once the kids get into working age, and if all 3 are skilled in one or the other area, each making 10k-12k each. The income of the family increases dramatically from 12k to 50k.
Vocational education offers technically trained manpower. We should not ignore the importance and benefits it offers. Without vocationally skilled manpower, it is difficult to get an advancement implemented on a large scale. It leads to widespread execution of technological advancement, ensures optimum utilization of resources, leads to enhanced productivity, competitiveness of the country, and job satisfaction for the employees and ultimately leads to a country that works – i.e., the place where things are done.