To commemorate World Youth Skill Day (WYSD) on July 15, 2020, more than an annual ritual in India, we need to understand, analyze and interpret the relevance of skills for a resilient youth for surviving, existing, and excelling in the covid era and beyond.
Under the Skill India program, we require life skills, reading skills, writing skills, marketing skills, business skills, analyzing skills for artificial intelligence, and above all verbal communication skills for Indian youth.
For the prosperous and progressive future of Indian youth, we need the power of skills for individuals and communities in 28 states and 9 UTs of India.
To justify the need for skills to read and write, it is worth quoting Alexander Pope, “True ease in writing comes by Art not by chance as one (she/he) moves easiest who has learned to dance”. The skill of writing is not an easy task and is an art that can certainly be developed through a lot of reading.
It needs to be noted that societies and nations can live without writing but no society can exist without reading. To my mind, effective management in all walks of life is a function of effective communication which is necessary and sufficient skill of the present times to face the covid created challenges.
To prove the communication skill of silence more than speaking, I wish to quote sloka no 15 of chapter 17 of Bhagvad Gita which is ism neutral religion free treatise on relationship management and welfare economics.
Meditation of tongue is the need of the day for proving silence as golden and speaking as silver for avoiding blame game and the war of words. We have to learn to weave the words beautifully for strengthening the relations in the context of behavior with the people around us in the global society.
We need to develop the abilities of head and heart, skills of morality with credibility and accountability, and possess knowledge including spirituality (spirit to know actuality) as the science of soul for the success and happiness in all walks of life including consumption, production, distribution, and exchange.
We are required to develop the soft skills of decision making as a software of information technology which is equally if not more important than the hardware. To reduce the delay in decision making, we have to learn from palli-palli ( jaldi-jaldi in Hindi) culture of South Korea with whom we share Independence Day.
Speed is the ethos, the ethic, and driving force (despite off-and-on errors) of Koreans at large which leads to their economic progress. In post covid era, we have to call upon Indian youth to contribute to the recovery effort, they will need to be equipped with the skills to successfully manage evolving challenges and the resilience for adapting future disruptions.
We have to support UNESCO’s theme for the day “Learning to learn for life and work” by encouraging Indian youth to develop selfie-style videos that outline how their life has changed by learning a skill.
It is pertinent to note that the latest global employment trends for youth 2020 reveal that technology and the future of jobs show that since 2017, there has been an upward trend in the number of youth not in employment, education or training (NEET).
Education and training are central to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 agenda. Education 2030 is fully captured by SDG 4 “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.
It devotes considerable attention to technical and vocational skills development, specifically regarding access to affordable quality Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET); the acquisition of technical and vocational skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship; the elimination of gender disparity and ensuring access for the vulnerable.
TVET is expected to help youth develop the skills they need for employment, decent work, and entrepreneurship, promoting equitable, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and supporting transitions to green economies and environmental sustainability. TVET can equip youth with the skills required to access the world of work, including skills for self-employment.
TVET can also improve responsiveness to changing skill-demands by companies and communities, increase productivity, and increase wage levels. TVET can reduce access barriers to the world of work, for example through work-based learning, and ensuring that skills gained are recognized and certified.
TVET can also offer skills development opportunities for low-skilled people who are under or unemployed, out of school youth, and individuals not in education, employment, and training (NEETs).
The UN designated WYSD seeks to generate greater awareness and discussion on the importance of skills including technical, vocational education, and training and the development of other skills relevant to both local and global economies including India.
It is hoped that it will contribute to reducing unemployment and underemployment among the youth. It will highlight youth skills development to draw attention to the critical need for marketable skills.
WorldSkills will support this globally important topic via the broad spread of activities and initiatives in the six focus areas all aimed at raising the profile and recognition of skilled people, and showing how important skills are in achieving economic growth and personal success. Inspiring, educating, and developing youth is an integral part of WorldSkills initiatives.
We need to remember that on December 18, 2014, the United Nations General Assembly adopted by consensus, a resolution, spearheaded by Sri Lanka, declaring 15th July as the World Youth Skills Day. The goal is to achieve better socio-economic conditions for today’s youth, including as a means of addressing the challenges of unemployment and underemployment.
It is to be noted that WYSD 2020 is taking place in a challenging time of covid pandemic and lockdown measures have led to the worldwide closure of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions, threatening the continuity of skills development.
It is estimated that nearly 70% of the world’s learners are affected by school closures across education levels currently.
A survey of TVET institutions, jointly conducted by UNESCO, ILO, and the World Bank reveals that distance training has become the most common way of imparting skills, with considerable difficulties of curricula adaptation, trainee and trainer preparedness, connectivity, or assessment and certification processes.
Being a needonomist, I believe that the economics of education instead of increasing the value of education has devalued the real value of education. There is a strong case to strengthen the educational value of education which is more than making a person capable of earning the livelihood (conversion from unpad to Ann pad) to adopt human values of morality and ethics as necessary and sufficient skills.
We need to become street SMART (simple, moral, action-oriented, responsive, and transparent) in attitude and behavior very well explained in the book “Economics of Human Resource Development in India” (2011).
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