Prime Minister Modi recalled with pride his humble beginnings in a recent interaction at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh.
Humble beginnings and noble ideas that have the potential to scale the socio-economic capital of India need policy nourishment at all levels.
Can every citizen claim to be an expert in their humble and chosen field of expertise or skill in a society that recognises a certificate on paper more than a skill on the field? The answer is a definite NO.
We live in a society that never asks its formally educated PhD graduates and successful academics with world-class publications and patents what they have achieved but mindlessly ask the formally uneducated and successful wealth creators what they have studied.
Such an attitude overshadows and underplays the successful performers and over-glorifies and hyper-celebrates the arm-chair acrobats.
This, in my good friend Prof R Vaidyanathan’s words, is ‘terminological terrorism’ that puts down with sheer disregard creatively performing and vocational success underneath non-performing academic assets.
A country with high demographic dividend like India cannot afford to let this happen. We need to provide academic pathways to those who tread unchartered routes of success in a society that craves academic identity for proven abilities.
The PM’s vision of a $5-trillion economy to make India a global economic powerhouse by 2025 is a challenging call but realisable.
There is plenty of socioeconomic potential that needs to be unlocked from the skilled and creative workforce of India which is unfortunately burdened with regulations and policy hurdles.
A blue-ocean approach is required to make the existing red-ocean framework irrelevant to allow genuine skills, arts, craftsmanship, etc. to sail in trouble-free waters.
Certain regulatory bottlenecks need immediate solutions to create a multiplier effect on India’s skill and vocational output. Some are also related to the role of universities and the delivery mode.
All accredited universities must be empowered to award certificate and diploma programmes in vocational education without the need to obtain approval from regulatory bodies or other central/state agencies.
Universities are by definition competent to award degrees and diplomas. One can understand the need for tight regulations for professional programmes like medicine or engineering but to expect universities to join the tiring approval queue along with stand-alone institutions for vocational education needs a course-correction.
Many skills, arts and other programmes that can be offered in the online mode need to be encouraged liberally without the existing unreasonable demand of such courses to be offered in the regular mode.
In this age of booming online education, there are certain programmes that best fit the online mode than the traditional mode.
Such programmes need immediate relief from the current regimental online regulations. In both cases, adequate monitoring mechanisms are however essential in the interest of quality.
In a skilled society that craves academic certification, the acceleration of India’s socio-economic capital needs empowerment and disruption in Indian universities’ vocational and online education models to create a massive multiplier effect.