The Modi government will have its work cut out on skill development; just over one in 10 adults reported having received any vocational training, according to new official data, and the bulk of it was informal.
The National Sample Survey Office on Tuesday released data from its 2011-12 round on education and vocational training. The numbers show that among persons in the 15-59 age group, about 2.2 per cent reported to having received formal vocational training and 8.6 per cent non-formal vocational training. The non-formal variety mainly comprised the passing down of hereditary skills, or on-the-job training.
Among rural males who received formal vocational training, the most common field was ‘driving and motor mechanic work’ while among urban males it was ‘computer trades.’ Among rural females ‘textile-related work’ was most common, while among urban females it was ‘computer trades.’
Moreover, the rate of vocational training had barely increased between 2004-05 when the data was last collected and 2011-12. This was despite the fact that the UPA government announced an ambitious National Skill Policy in 2009 and created a National Skill Development Coordination Board earlier.
In July this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Rs. 1,500-crore Skill India campaign, which aims to train 40 crore people by 2022. Senior officials say that while there is a strong focus on skilling in the new government, there is still little clarity about how to achieve it. “If you ask me exactly how we are going to do it differently, I cannot tell you that yet,” a senior bureaucrat in the new Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship told The Hindu . “We are starting with a poorly educated youth population and little linkage with industry. There is a lot of corporate support for this mission, but it will take time,” he said.
Among people aged 15 and above, the NSSO data showed, only 2.4 per cent had technical degrees, diplomas or certificates in fields like medicine, engineering or agriculture. The proportion was 1.1 per cent in rural areas and 5.5 per cent in urban areas
Just over 60 per cent of those aged 5-29 were currently attending an educational institution. Among those not currently studying, ‘to supplement household income’ was the main reason for more than 70 per cent of males for currently not attending any educational institution, while ‘to attend domestic chores’ was the reason more than half of females. Attendance rates were highest in Uttarakhand in both rural and urban areas, and lowest in Gujarat among rural areas and Odisha among urban areas. Attendance rates rise sharply with income levels.
In about 18.2 per cent of households in rural areas and 5.9 per cent in urban areas, there was not a single member in the age-group 15 years and above who could read and write a simple message with understanding.