In a conversation with Infosys executive vice-chairman Kris Gopalakrishnan at the second edition of the ThinkEdu Conclave organised by The New Indian Express here on Friday, Human Resource Development Minister M M Pallam Raju stressed on the importance of imparting skills along with education to the country’s young workforce.
“It is imperative that we skill youngsters,” the minister said. Quizzed by Gopalakrishnan on whether India, which is supposed to skill 500 million people by 2020, can actually pull it off, Raju said, “We are destined to have the youngest work force ever. Along with education, skilling is essential to provide opportunities to young people. The prime minister has set a target of 50 crore youth.”
Making a presentation on the demographic dividend, policy initiatives and efforts of his ministry and other agencies, the HRD minister said the main challenge was to tailor education and skills to suit the industry’s requirements. “So far, there is a gap. In order to bridge the gap, the quality of training and equipment must be improved. Also, whatever we build should be in sync with the times.”
Drawing a parallel to a similar situation that prevailed in the information technology sector, Gopalakrishnan said there were only 1.5 lakh people in the IT sector 20 years ago. Today, there were 2.5 million. “The industry created mechanism to train the people. We recruited graduates and post-graduates from Math and Science (backgrounds) and gave them three to six months training to convert them into software engineers.”
Some corporate houses run business schools, the software expert said, adding that they were good examples of how the target of skilling 500 million people could be met by the government.
Responding to Raju’s appeal for public-private partnership in capacity-building, Gopalakrishnan asked how the government proposed to meet the challenge of establishing coordination among the HRD ministry, the National Skill Development Corporation and other agencies in order to have a uniform standard of training? The minister replied that coordination would be achieved through the National Knowledge Network. The fibre optic technology communication would be expanded in rural areas, he added.
BJP to bring More Univs for Women
Chennai: There may well be more women-only universities in the country if there is a change of guard at the Centre. Speaking at a panel discussion on female literacy at the ThinkEdu Conclave, BJP national vice-president Smriti Irani said, “I shall propose to my party seniors that when we come to power we should ensure the establishment of institutions that not only cater particularly to women’s education but also equally to their skill development.” Irani went on to point out that there was a presumption in the country today that skill development pertains only to young men. “On the contrary,” she said, “in Gujarat, the increase in ITIs particularly designed to train women have resulted in increased productivity and savings.”