NCVET is a long-awaited step towards strengthening India’s skills training ecosystem.
In the last few years, remarkable progress has been made in the vocational training, skilling and education space. The commencement of short- and long-term degree programmes in vocational skilling and education is helping bring new forms of learning to labour market entrants. Institutes such as ITIs and polytechnics and government schemes such as DDU-GKY, PMKVY, UDAAN, and NSQF-RMSA are ensuring that more students are up-skilling and making themselves more employable. There is a plethora of new skill universities who are attempting to bring together the industry, job-seekers and the academia to develop a sustainable plan of vocational skilling and a strong pipeline of available talent pool for hiring.
Now, the Union Cabinet approved the merger of the National Council for Vocational Training (NCVT) and the National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) to establish the National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET). The new entity will help bring the focus on standard monitoring and regulations as a single umbrella creates accountability and a focused approach.
There are certain areas NCVET should focus on:
Standardised guidelines: One of the key agenda for NCVET will be to develop standardised guidelines for the vocational training industry. As vocational skilling is a common need across all job roles, it is imperative for NCVET to recognise Indian industry requirements, its changing skilling needs, and the technology intervention required. There is a need to create national benchmarks and standards that will not only define quality of vocational skilling, but also provide a high value to learners.
Monitoring and assessments: Given the scale and distributed nature of our current vocational learning and monitoring system, it is important that NCVET defines and implements stronger assessment, certification and monitoring processes. One of its key functions will be to approve the qualifications developed by awarding bodies and Sector Skill Councils (SSCs). NCVET must also recognise and regulate awarding and assessment bodies, and skill-related information providers. A combination of qualitative and quantitative assessment cycle helps the regulatory body to appraise and evaluate the learning process and make it smoother.
Degree connectivity: A vocational training programme provides hands-on learning that helps candidates be more employable. The degree certificate with the specific on-the-job training provides an edge to job-seekers. No longer vocational training is a quick-fix, but is a degree that helps create long-term value. NCVET should help create long-term programmes with an overarching credit framework for learning in classrooms, online and on-the-job. This will help learners learn on-the-job, and earn while they learn within an education framework which will be beneficial to all. This, in turn, will help achieve the twin objectives of enhancing aspirational value of vocational education and of increasing skilled manpower.
Dissemination and redressal: Apart from a candidate’s perspective, NCVET should also act as the main regulatory body for research and information dissemination. Any grievance that candidates or institutes need to redress should be done by NCEVT. This will lead to improvement in quality, and lend relevance and credibility to skilling and vocational programmes, encouraging greater private investment and employer participation in the skills space.
In the absence of an adequate regulatory body, there were numerous departments providing skill development programmes using private sectors providers. There were multiple assessment and certification systems in place, which were not at par with industry standards. This led to candidates suffering in terms of jobs and employability, as they often fell short of the required qualifications. NCVET will bring in uniformity to the system. With more than 1 million youth ready to join the Indian labour force every month for the next 20 years, quality and relevance of vocational skills has become the key priority for NCVET to help build a large pool of employable labour market entrants.
Neeti Sharma is senior vice-president, TeamLease Services Ltd. Views are personal