Despite the COVID-19 pandemic aggravating challenges in the job sector, States like Kerala are better placed to respond to the problems facing health care and rebuilding economies, Sukti Dasgupta, Chief of the Employment and Labour Markets Branch, International Labour Organisation (ILO), has said.
The higher emphasis ensured for social dialogue, social justice and public welfare in such States held them in good stead even while large developing countries like India were witnessing uneven development, he said.
She was elaborating on the global labour market in the context of the pandemic during a session on ‘Modern Skill Development’ at the Kerala Looks Ahead conclave on Tuesday.
Delving into the best practices in skill development in the country, Atul Kumar Tiwari, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, said there had been emphasis on vocationalisation of formal education in the National Education Policy 2020. The University Grants Commission had also introduced embedded degree courses that involved apprenticeships and internships.
He added that the National Council of Vocational Training was also working on a credit transfer mechanism for the benefit of those pursuing reskilling programmes midway through their careers.
Labour Minister T.P. Ramakrishnan said even while the pandemic had impacted the economy, new opportunities emerged in key areas. Priority should be given to modernisation of manufacturing and service sectors.
He also advocated steps to protect all employment sectors including traditional industries, increase productivity, and employment through modernisation. A standard vocational training system should be evolved with more skills offered through the programme for younger generations.
Health and Woman and Child Development Minister K.K. Shylaja stressed on the need for egalitarian progress in the work sector by plugging gender gaps that hinder women’s access to skill development. Special support must also be provided to overcome the gender digital divide so that women could participate equally in digital learning and emerging technology-intensive areas.
State Planning Board vice chairman V.K. Ramachandran said Kerala had the potential to become the skilled labour hub of the country.
Former Minister of Science, Technology and Education, South Korea, Prof. Ju-Ho Lee, Deputy Head of German Office for International Cooperation in Vocational Education and Training (GOVET) deputy head Peter Rechmann, ILO Skills and Employment Specialist Gabriel H. Bordado, ILO Chief of Skills and Employability Branch Srinivas Reddy, State Planning Board members Mridul Eapen and K. Ravi Raman also spoke.