The govt’s plan to rate skill development institutes is a good one, provided this is done by independent bodies
As per a 2016 Hindustan Times report, two of the top institutes under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Yojana-I did not have the requisite infrastructure to train the number of people they claimed they did. Besides, despite the government policy of mandatorily asking for Aadhaar numbers of those registered for training, the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) wasn’t able to verify Aadhaar numbers of more than 570,000 students. Given the government’s experience with the industrial training institutes (ITIs) and the skills development programme, it wasn’t really clear how it intended to train more people with little accountability. Now, according to The Economic Times, it is now contemplating introducing a rating system to check for quality. Under the new plan, 13,000 ITIs—of which 85% are private run—would get star-ratings. The government will be grading institutions for their teaching, placement and infrastructure, to provide a clearer picture to the lakhs of students who enrol at these institutes each year.
While it is not clear as to who will actually rate the institutes, the skill development ministry did announce setting up of a National Vocational Education and Training system to emulate the success such bodies have had across the developed world. Rather than granting the skill development ministry the power to rate ITIs, a better approach would be to allow an independent body—one that is not attached to the skill development ministry or the NSDC—adopting the National Institute Ranking Framework or the National Assessment and Accreditation Council methodology to dispense the ratings of ITIs, as is done for colleges and universities. With the government planning to train one crore students each year, it can ill afford to have another miscalculation or scam mar the effort.