Analysing Naan Mudhalvan: An upskilling program for students aimed at parity in quality and eligibility | The Financial Express

Analysing Naan Mudhalvan: An upskilling program for students aimed at parity in quality and eligibility

Over 12 lakh students are part of the Naan Mudhalvan ecosystem, and more than 200 mentors comprising industry leaders, rising stars and experienced trainers have accepted the Government’s invitation to play a pivotal role in envisioning and executing the program.

Analysing Naan Mudhalvan: An upskilling program for students aimed at parity in quality and eligibility
‘Naan Mudhalvan’ (I am the first), helps students face competitive exams and placement tests, and equip themselves with latest skills in demand in the corporate world.

By R. Chandra Mouli

When Muthuvel Karunanidhi Stalin stated his name in full and took oath in May 2021, the first-time chief minister had his sights set on many firsts. His initial focus was curtailing the spread of the pandemic. 

If you look back from his 100 days milestone to completion of one year and more in office, Thiru Stalin’s welfare initiatives address diverse audiences and goals. For citizens with infirmities, he announced ‘Makkalai Thedi Maruthuvam’ (healthcare at doorstep), and to overcome learning loss caused by post-pandemic developmental lag, he announced ’Illam Thedi Kalvi’ (education at doorstep).  

A department named ‘CM in Your Constituency’ was created early in his tenure to resolve various issues brought to his notice by citizens, and an Economic Advisory Council to the Chief Minister was formed with 5 globally acclaimed experts in economics and finance. 

His focus on inclusive development inspired him to launch in March this year a most purposeful program which may rank as his best effort in upskilling and employment enablement till date. ‘Naan Mudhalvan’ (I am the first), helps students face competitive exams and placement tests, and equip themselves with latest skills in demand in the corporate world.

In the years ahead if the scheme is quoted as a case study, part of the credit will go to the dual strategy of public-private-partnership and self-sustainability which are central to its execution. Without overly depending on government funding, 50+ Training Partners help impart and enhance industry-relevant skills to the youth of Tamil Nadu, on ground and in virtual mode. 

Propelling Naan Mudhalvan is a cohort of constituents working in unison, of which the brain trust and nodal agency is Tamil Nadu Skill Development Corporation headed by the able administrator Tmt. J. Innocent Divya, IAS.

How does Naan Mudhalvan work?

In a far-spread State blessed with excellent connectivity, the scheme is anchored on an upskilling platform that provides students online access to Foundation Courses. The process starts with domain-specific assessment modules which help users understand their skill gap. The next level of courses enables imparting of newer and industry-relevant skill sets and building of digital fluency in emerging sectors. Training areas include Engineering, Arts & Sciences, Polytechnic, ITI, Pharmacy and Medical Sciences. 

Thiru Stalin’s vibrant persona, his eagerness to explore new avenues, and the unstinted support he receives from his council of ministers and government officials may have contributed to the scheme’s viability and operability. Look closer, and you will appreciate that a combination of his people-centric approach, affable nature and win-win design of the program (gainful employment for the trainee, trained entrant for the employer) have ensured enlistment of the best of job creators (Microsoft, TCS, Oracle, HCL) and top-rated skill developers (Masai, Edureka, L&T Edutech, Coursera). 

The complete range of partners and skill offerings – from Information Technology to Emerging Technologies, and from Green Energy to Logistics, can be viewed in the Naan Mudhalvan portal.

The Naan Mudhalvan ecosystem

Over 12 lakh students are part of the Naan Mudhalvan ecosystem, and more than 200 mentors comprising industry leaders, rising stars and experienced trainers have accepted the Government’s invitation to play a pivotal role in envisioning and executing the program. 

By listing open positions in various domains, the portal helps freshers apply for jobs relevant to their skills. Check the portal links for employers recruiting actively and for internship opportunities and job openings.

Several pillars strengthen the program’s cohesive structure – Psychometric Testing, Hackathons, Finishing School to make the trainee job ready, and a range of courses categorized as Mandatory, Free and Paid. The ultimate objective is to create sustainable livelihoods through employment-linked skill training for youth in the 18-35 years age group. 

When a leader takes office, however noble his intentions may be, some of his actions face criticism from detractors, which is a natural corollary of being part of the world’s largest democracy. Yet, finding a negative for this forward-thinking scheme could be as difficult as a needle in a haystack, and it can be said that Naan Mudhalvan is a shining example of good governance and social conscience at work from one of India’s newest chief ministers. 

Also read: Highest paying technology sector jobs in India revealed by Instahyre 

It is likely that Thiru Stalin came to the right conclusions and launched various innovative schemes based on his early years as a youth leader, later as mayor of Chennai, as deputy chief minister, and as an elected representative with an ear to the ground during the decade he was in the opposition.

Some of his actions on public policy stem from an understanding of the most primal needs of the weaker sections of the society. A case in point is the Tamil Nadu Government’s recently introduced ‘Free Breakfast Scheme’ which emanates from the CM’s knowledge that many underprivileged children reach school on an empty stomach and from his firm view that “students should not be taught when they are hungry.”

As for Naan Mudhalvan, whether germinated by gut feel or a precise understanding of the pulse of youth whose greatest aspiration is career advancement, the concept places our Mudhalvar (Chief Minister) in the list of leaders who stand out in the public realm for being a catalyst of a pioneering project with immense potential for societal and economic impact. 

One can argue similar programs are offered by other states, and skill development, without doubt, has been a focus of the Union Government. However, when compared with offerings in at least six states with similar or higher student base, Naan Mudhalvan stands out for its focus on new-age skills, the sheer number of tech companies and educators onboarded as partners, and cloud-based, platform-driven coaching, all of which enable real-time engagement and a connected experience for the trainee and less drop offs in the upskilling journey.

In the final analysis, the scheme’s most admirable objective is parity – an ethos reflected in the positioning statement coined by the Chief Minister himself, which declares that “Naan Mudhalvan will prove that a student from Tamil Nadu is on par with peers from any other country… in quality and eligibility.” 

(The writer is a postgraduate in mass communications with over three decades of experience in strategising and executing communication programmes for State and Central Government undertakings. Views expressed are his own and not necessarily that of FinancialExpress.com)

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First published on: 27-11-2022 at 19:15 IST