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Challenges with skill development programs between COVID-19


The United Nations General Assembly declared July 15, 2014 as World Youth Skills Day, recognizing the strategic importance of preparing young people for work environments, honorable work and entrepreneurship. Since then, World Youth Skills Day activities have provided a unique opportunity for interaction between youth, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) organizations, businesses, employer and labor groups, regulators and development organizations. Participants stressed the growing importance of skills as the world moves towards a more sustainable development style.

During the outbreak of COVID-19, India’s emerging technology and vocational education and training (TVET) ecosystem faced many obstacles. Companies were forced to close for 7-8 months until September 2020 due to a nationwide lockdown.

This ecosystem includes a wide variety of players, such as vocational providers, including schools and higher education institutions; Voluntary donations and short-term skill development programs approved by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC); And public and private industrial training institutes (ITIs).

Some of the major challenges and obstacles are as follows:

Switch to online platforms

Although internet availability in India has increased from 27 per cent to 50 per cent in the last five years, most of the youth participating in skill development programs have very limited access to smartphones and the web. Prior to announcing a nationwide lockdown last year, 25-30% of students did not have smartphones.

The epidemic has widened the digital divide between these students and those with wealth. It is very difficult to reach them through any kind of internet program.

Fewer job opportunities

When the lockdown relaxed nationwide, job placements — a key indicator of the success of all short-term training programs — were negatively impacted. This mostly happened for some reason. First, there is a negative impact on the demand-supply cycle, resulting in lower employment vacancies. Second, the concern to shrink to COVID-19 has led many children and their parents to postpone appointments.

Third, the lack of transport infrastructure, especially public transport, which is the preferred mode of transport for many Indians, has made travel for businesses problematic even for students who have accepted a job offer.

Less on funding

When the lockdown lengthened in September-October 2020, financial resources were largely unavailable for all government-sponsored programs. Small skill development has put a lot of long-term pressure on companies, and they have had to cut their project staff.

During this period, many corporate social responsibility (CSR) foundations have given their volunteer partners a lot of way to test new methods such as virtual delivery and digital infrastructure assistance.


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