Australia can assist India in improving skill development but it requires basic research on existing training regimes and should align such plans with a long-term economic strategy for India, a think-tank has said.
‘Skill India’ is a major policy initiative of the Indian government which seeks to provide vocational training to 400 million Indian workers by 2022, the Melbourne-based think-tank Australia India Institute (AII) said.
“Australia can assist in improving skill provision in India but it requires basic research on existing training regimes and a clear narrative about why it wishes to be involved.
It should align plans for skill development with a long-term economic strategy for India,” AII said in a recently released paper on Sustainable Skill Development.
The report said that Australian investments in Vocational and Educational Training (VET) in India were often unsuccessful and only a handful of students so far had graduated from Australian RTO’s based in India.
The report, quoting Australian Trading Commission, said Australian firms that have attempted to work in India found inadequate infrastructural support, outdated curricula and a lack of industry participation and also failed to offer quality training at rates that were competitive with local providers.
“These shortcomings are largely due to the lack of a comprehensive framework for engaging with India on skills.
Unlike the UK, Australia has not yet developed comprehensive institutional supports to facilitate skills collaborations and unlike Germany, has not aligned skills collaborations with long-term plans for economic engagement with India,” it said.
“Basic research is required into how skills, vocation and training are practiced and understood in India. These would greatly enhance institutional efforts to promote specific forms of skill development in different parts of India.
“Following Germany’s example, the Australian government should develop a long-term economic strategy for its engagement with India which, in turn, should be linked to its skills and international education strategies,” it said.
The paper highlighted that by 2025, the average age in India would be 29 years and about the Skill India campaign launched by the Modi Government to provide vocational training to 400 million Indian workers by 2022.
It said India faced many challenges in achieving its target in skill development including poor quality of existing institutions, unrealistic institutional goals, low quality of schooling, lack of vocational education in schools, weak links to industry and disappointing labour market outcomes.
“Students in India are not able to enrol in vocational courses until Class 11. There are also poor linkages between formal and vocational education in Indian schools. Outside of elite institutions, many schools in India are under-funded and suffer from teacher neglect and poor curricula,” it said.
The ‘raw material’ for vocational training high school matriculates often lack skills in numeracy, literacy and other academic areas.