15 May, 2008

Skill Gap

TV Mohandas Pai's article "Bridging the skill gap through PPPs" in Economic Times is full of interesting statistics about education and human resources in India.

Universities 450
Colleges 18000
Rate of Higher Education (Age group = 18-24 Yrs) 11%
Total No. of People In Formal Sector 60 to 65 Million
No. of People Employed In Govt. 20 Million

Some of interesting points in the article:

"While we have lower number (i.e. percentage) of youngsters in colleges ... we are creating a large number of graduates whose skill levels and capabilities are totally out of sync with what the job market requires, creating a major human resource challenge"

"There is a tremendous shortage of carpenters, plumbers, electricians, mason, fitters, welders, drivers and other skilled people who form the backbone of any economy"

Later part of article mentions that Government is unable to spend budget allocate to higher education, which is surprising given the fact that I have read stories about lower salaries (compared to private sector) for teachers are Govt. run colleges.

Author then suggests spending budgeted money on scholarships for students. He did not mention anything about quality of education at primary and secondary schools. NGO Pratham has some recent statistics about students in schools for all states in India.

Last part of the article does not really elaborate on what he meant by Public-Private partnerships (PPPs). Most likely he wanted to suggest giving more autonomy to private institutes. Few months back there were news about problems with AICTE .

Some useful/relevant definitions:

Skilled Labour : Workers who have special knowledge or qualifications

Unskilled Labor: Also called common labor, -- is that which performs simple manual operations that are readily learned in a short time and that require exercise of little or no independent judgment.