Institutions not producing technically qualified youth

Institutions not producing technically qualified youth

Karnataka has a wide network of technical education institutions. But the number of technically qualified youth is not in proportion to the number of institutions.

Hardly three per cent of the 3.96 crore population in the 15-plus age group is technically educated. A majority of the youth with technical education are below graduate level diploma and certificate holders, forming 1.9 per cent of the total number of youth with technical education. 

People with technical degrees and diploma certificates above graduate level constitute just 0.6 per cent of the total number of youth with technical education. Interestingly, while there is an increase in the number of engineering colleges, the average enrolment has come down over the last three years. Similar is the situation in polytechnics.

In addition to this dismal picture, there is gender disparity and urban bias in technical education. Of the total 11.8 lakh people with technical education, an overwhelming 72 per cent are male and the others are female. The number of persons in the 15-plus age group with formal technical education is very low. As in the case of workers with technical education, nearly 29.4 per cent of the 15 years and above population report themselves as non-workers - either unemployed or out of the labour force.

Demand side problem

Strangely, unemployment among those with technical education is more acute in Karnataka as about 27.7 pc of all reported unemployed persons have technical education, which indicates a demand side problem, according to the National Sample Survey data for 2004-05.

Though the NSS came out with a survey in 2007-08, its previous survey is considered a comprehensive one (thick round) than the latest (thin round).

The survey includes information gathering on skill profile of the youth who have undergone formal or informal training, which includes both hereditary and other sources.

The Planning, Programme and Monitoring and Statistics Department, after studying the skill profile of workers in the State, has come out with a draft study which has suggested ways to improve skill development across the industry. Sanjiv Kumar, Principal Secretary and Prof S Madeswaran, Special Officer, planning department, who have come out with the draft paper based on the NSS data, have pointed out that the Gulbarga region accounts for the lowest share of the total formal trained youth - 6.6 per cent and second highest share in informal trained youth - 21.4 per cent.

Job fairs

This is the reason why the State government has taken up skill development as a policy since 2008-09. The State Skill Commission has been organising skill and job fairs. But it is obvious that it is yet to make any impact on the ground.

The study says that over the years, the State has built up large infrastructure for human resources development. There are 3,640 pre-university colleges and 1,362 other colleges besides 18 universities to provide general education. Vocational education is provided through 553 institutions.

Despite these hard facts, 81 per cent of the workers in the age group of 15 years and above are engaged in agriculture activities in rural areas of the State. In urban areas, 27 per cent of the workers are in trade, hotels and restaurants, 22 per cent in manufacturing and 17 per cent in public administration.

Integrated approach to skill development

With lack of skill in youths as its focus, the draft paper of the planning department has suggested to the government to introduce short-term skill training courses in mining, manufacturing and operations, intensive training for existing employees to address the need for supervisors and integrated focus on soft skills.

The report also has given concrete recommendations for skill interventions, viz. invest in existing ITIs to provide right foundation for skill education, extend existing institutions to address established industry skills and create PPP models to provide training for emerging industry skills.

Besides, there should be a holistic approach towards skill education to address the industry demand and integrated approach to incubate entrepreneurs, the study has said.  

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