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India Inc - demographic nightmare or demographic dividends?

Posted by on in Skills Development
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India is poised at a moment in history when a much brighter future for its entire people is within its reach.

India’s population is huge at 1.25 billion. It’s fast expanding rate, will soon make India’s population equal to 17% of the total world population and integrate rapidly into the global economy.

With 356 million 15-24 year-olds, India has the world's largest youth population despite having a smaller population than China as per the UN report from November 2014.  With 54 per cent of India's population being 25 or below, India can reap the demographic dividend through right skilling. Unfortunately, currently less than 5 per cent of our potential workforce gets formal skill training to be employable. In a report last year, the Finance Ministry said that if that growing workforce does not develop skills soon, the country could instead face "a demographic nightmare".

As per Bank of America report 2013, 75% of the workforce in India (both rural and urban) does not possess the marketable skills needed to get a job, yet alone sustain a successful career.  Experts predict that the global shortage of skilled manpower will stand at approximately 56.5 million by 2020. Therefore, bridging this “skills gap” (through the various skill development initiatives) could make India the global hub for skilled manpower. In addition, India has the highest potential to meet the skill gap with its large, young, English speaking population.

To address the need to develop the employment skills required by the economy, the Indian government developed the National Skill Development Initiative in 2009, in an attempt to push forward the skills development agenda.

"National Skill Development Policy will empower all individuals through improved skills, knowledge, nationally and internationally recognized qualifications to gain access to decent employment and ensure India’s competitiveness in the global market.”

As a result of the National Skill Development Policy, today there are numerous collaborations between the national and state governments and the non-profit and for-profit sectors providing access and opportunity for skills development across the Indian economy.

Cambridge Executive Development (CED), a subsidiary of Expedien, Inc., is a global provider of employability skills programs for higher education graduating students & graduates globally. CED has partnered with National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC), the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, Houston Community College System, Alamo College System and other major universities in USA & worldwide to develop award-winning highly-accessible skills development programs that are designed to prepare individuals for career success by providing skills assessments, training and certification upon successful completion.

“Millions are graduating every year in India without learning how to get things done, without knowing how to put their theoretical education into practice, without problem-solving skills, and without right attitude. Higher education institutions in India don’t teach what is needed in Industry and hence creating a wide gap between academia and Industry needed skills. India could be capable of realizing major demographic dividends if people have the right skills. Workforce ready people from India can play a very important role not only in meeting local but global workforce needs in coming years given the aging population in many European countries” said Jiten Agarwal, CEO of Cambridge Education Development. 

It is imperative to say that training such large number to youth and making them ready for workforce is not possible by traditional brick & mortal model. CED has recognized the challenge and developed the skills development programs that can be done completely online following pre and post assessments. These programs are also in alignment with National Skills Development Policy and skills framework approved by Government of India.  

For example 

  • Focus on modular courses, open architecture and short term courses: With fast changing skills in the labor market, focus would be on short, relevant and effective courses that would get candidates into the workplace.
  • Provide effective assessment and credible certification: Quality assured learning, credible assessment and certification will be developed. This will allow employers to use the certificate as a proxy to fast track job applicants.
  • Innovative delivery models such decentralized delivery, mobile training, distance learning, e-learning and web-based learning will be used.