'Budget must look at mainstreaming skilling in schools'

Budget 2020 should focus on mainstreaming skilling inside schools, says Ayush Bansal

Education must rise to the challenge of the new industrial revolution. The coming workforce should be well prepared to take up the challenge. Credit: iStock image

By Ayush Bansal

India has 250 million youth in the age group 13-23. 90 million of them in secondary & higher secondary schools and 140 million in colleges. There is an immediate need to provide proper education and skilling to the Indian youth so that India can reap the benefit of demographic dividend and go on to build the best workforce in the world.

The Budget 2020 should focus on mainstreaming skilling inside schools and integrate career guidance at secondary level of education. Without giving proper direction to students on their career path, the Skill India campaign is not giving good results. Budget should focus on improving the student to career counselor ratio from 50,000:1 to 250:1 as prescribed by the various International School Counselor association. To do so India needs 1.4 million career counselor, and the budget should focus on building the career counseling capacity in the school and colleges by creating career counseling bureau at every state. To increase aspiration and awareness about vocational and job oriented skilling programs among students, career guidance at secondary level of education can play a vital role with improvement in the dropout rates post-secondary education.

The budget should immediately focus on improving the quality of the skilling programs with higher regulation of the PMKVY program. Franchise model being exploited by various private agencies should be stopped and a regulatory committee should be formed for better monitoring, tracking and improving the quality of skill programs being implemented under the PMKVY campaign. PMKVY centers should be made more liable on employment linkage apart from just providing skill training.  

Increased focus on apprenticeship should also be a key focus as India has only 4 lakh apprentice vis-à-vis China which has 2 crore apprentice. The budget should look at expanding the focus on apprenticeship program by providing more incentives to Industry which can result in better industry participation on the skilling initiatives. Having Industry know-how on skilling Indian youth is a must to improve quality of skilling programs.

Education must rise to the challenge of the new industrial revolution. The coming workforce should be well prepared to take up the challenge. Under the current scenario the workforce of tomorrow looks unprepared for Industry 4.0. The focus should also be give on career counselling where the children would be able to get exposure about their own skillsets where they will get to know and would be able to pursue the newly introduced professions in the industry that includes entrepreneurship, soft leadership, AI, ML and data scientist to name a few.

A definite expectation from the budget is to increase its spend on education, from the current 4.6% to a minimum 8% of the GDP. Better focus on foundation learning at early childhood level, learning outcomes & assessments should also be a focus in the budget plan. 

(The writer is the Founder & CEO, iDreamCareer)