Skilling India: Maximising value creation from demographic dividend

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Published: October 28, 2019 12:09:30 AM

The training approach being practised today continues to rely upon the principle of dependence on human efforts for the entire chain of activity to be performed for a specific role.

India, too, needs to rethink the entire education system leading upto vocational training. India, too, needs to rethink the entire education system leading upto vocational training.

India has been positioning itself in the global labour market with its advantage of over 50% of population being below 25 years. Before considering how to maximise the value from this demographic dividend, it is important to recognise that countries without the advantage of demographic dividend are already using digital tools and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in place of humans wherever possible or are augmenting human capability with these tools.

The training approach being practised today continues to rely upon the principle of dependence on human efforts for the entire chain of activity to be performed for a specific role. However, some of the skills being imparted have become obsolete or are being replaced by automation. As per McKinsey Report, jobs which continue to have high skills component such as designing or engineering would continue to have demands for talent but such talent needs to hone skills on working alongside robots or AI tools. The talent transformation and education processes need to focus on critical skills and tasks that machines cannot perform.

In order to adapt to the changing requirements of skills and making the youth employable, it is important to rethink the skills that are imparted from the early age. It is worthwhile to note that in the American schools, students are expected to use tablets to access their entire curriculum, ebooks, homework etc and take online assignments from the age of 8-9 years. The focus is more on assimilation of diverse information, problem solving and analysis from the early ages with technology tools provided to them facilitating the human minds to work along side machines and also get sharper.

India, too, needs to rethink the entire education system leading upto vocational training. Design thinking principles should be introduced in schools even before digital introduction is provided to them. We need to move away from teaching computers as a subject to using digital tools as integral to how all subjects are imparted.

Vocational education has to be redesigned by aligning with the emerging work situations in corporates. Candidates need to be made aware of what is expected in the real life environment and should be guided for quickening the pace of learning and achieving mastery of skills in the shortest possible time using Augmented Reality, AI and other such tools. Sales training has to reflect the real life buyer- seller dynamics experienced online and offline. It has to be built around emerging buyer behaviour and on how to use smart AI tools, how to select the target audience for selling and make use of the right digital methods and messaging to decipher the right moment to close.

There are a plethora of tools and techniques available to help rejuvenate the training process with the view to maximising the value of the demographic dividend that our country enjoys. In the short run, rethinking the vocational curriculum and skills required to become relevant to the industry is the first step, making the correct choice of digital tools and integrating them with the training process is the next step. In the long run to enhance the advantage of the demographic dividend, it would be absolutely important to rethink what and how we teach our school children to enable them to become productive citizens of tomorrow.

The writer is chairperson, Global Talent Track, a corporate training solutions company

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