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GPS 2017: 'Skill development is the need of the hour; it must begin at school level,' say panellists
The India Center Foundation (ICF), a not-for-profit organization, that has been working towards India's developmental process by launching several projects in this regard, is organizing the 'Global Partnership Summit 2017', which started at the Aero City in New Delhi on December 11, 2017.

On the opening day of the summit, a panel discussion was held on the theme of education and skill development programme titled - "Can the current education and skilling initiatives empower large demographics and fulfil global demands?"

While discussing about India's education sector and skill development initiatives, Rajesh Agarwal, Joint Secretary and CVO at the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship said, "India is a young country, blessed with a favourable demographic dividend where the average age is around 29 years.
Skill training is of utmost importance. Population should translate to GDP and economic growth. Several countries have policies regarding migration and our plan is to align India's certification standards at par with global level. If a construction worker goes to Singapore in search of a job then he should have a certification that is recognised in the country he is migrating to, in this case Singapore."

Agarwal, who commenced the panel discussion during the summit, also added, "In order to reap India's demographic dividend, we need to equip our youth in skill sets of the future and through the National Skill Development Corporation, we are furthering the cause. The industry needs to recognise the value of training and skills. The mindset of the industry needs to shift from low labour cost to high productivity."

Apart from Joint Secretary, all panellists who participated in the discussion equivocally asserted on building an effective structure that helps in managing the demand and supply of skilled manpower across the country.

The panellists also said that skill training programmes should be a part of the formal school education and doing so, it should be also integrated with the academic sectors.

In India there are huge skill gaps that directly lead to 'unemployment', which is one of the major economic challenges in the current scenario.

Not only that, unemployment has been a bigger concern since independence in our country, resulting that many graduates are not capable enough to get the satisfactory jobs while most of them are not industry ready or employable. However, this scenario can be changed through skill development certification courses and training.

In this regard, the Centre has taken various initiatives wherein the government has offered many skill development programmes for students so that, they can enhance and hone their skills to meet industry needs.

India is also working closely with countries such as Germany, UK, USA etc to formulate benchmarks and standards in skill certifications.

Speaking on how Indian education system is not job oriented, one of the panellists said, "90% of the people do not earn a livelihood basis what they have learned in schools and 90% do not learn what they can use in their job. That is where the disparity lies and that is why job focussed skill training is important along with formal education".

The panellist further added that the dignity of labour is another important aspect that needs to be addressed.

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