Need to update school syllabus with Skill-based-Education : K. Parthasarathy, Chair, Institute for Entrepreneurship and Career Development of Bharathidasan University

Tiruchirapalli : Ahead of World Youth Skills Day, those involved in preparing the younger generations for a competitive job market have their work cut out for them.

“Our current system doesn’t cater to over 20 crore educated and unemployed youth in India,” K. Parthasarathy, Chair, Institute for Entrepreneurship and Career Development of Bharathidasan University, said. “The lack of awareness of the link between skill-based education and the job market is astounding. Parents still choose courses based on their commercial potential, not on their children’s aptitude for them,” he said.

The centre, established 12 years ago, offers 124 skill development courses of differing duration, and has trained 2,64,452 students from its inception up to March 2016.

Updating the school syllabus with practical studies from Classes 6 to 9 could pave the way for a more skilled younger generation in a decade or so, suggested Mr. Parthasarathy. “The popularity of our short-term tutorials in mathematics and robotics among school kids shows that there is no proper integration of skills with the curriculum,” he said.

Don Bosco Tech, which functions under the Christian charity Don Bosco Institutions, is involved in training school leavers to learn vocational skills, through 90-day courses in different subjects. Launched in Tiruchi in 2013, DB Tech has trained 460 youths so far, and has 60 on its rolls at its centre at Manikandam.

“There is a big change in the children before and after they join the courses. Their confidence level goes up when they realise that they can be in charge of their life with education,” said Aloysius Arulraj, Cluster Head, DB Tech, Tamil Nadu. The organisation has six centres in Tamil Nadu and relies on tie-ups with corporations to provide study materials and industrial training to students. “Most graduates assume that they are instantly employable just because they have finished college. They cannot understand that one needs to fulfil all the interview criteria of the organisation in order to get a job,” said Gurvayurappan P.V., Vice-President and Head, Human Resources, Omega Healthcare.

The leading Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) company employs over 9,000 people in the age of 23 to 35 years, and has offices in Bangalore, Chennai, Tiruchi and Manila, Philippines.

“Technology is creating a buzz around the link between employer and employee. It may have replaced many manual jobs in the heavy engineering industry but it has cut down the many time-consuming processes in office administration. Job searches can be customized and shortened like never before due to technology,” said Mr. Gurvayurappan.

There are many lessons that workers of both old and new economy job markets can learn, said the human resource specialist who has been in the field since 1990.

The BPO’s Omega Coding Academy, started in 2015, has trained nearly 700 students with a life science background, of which 60 per cent have been absorbed by the company.

Allirani Balaji, chairperson, District Interact Committee, Rotary International, which organizes life skill training for youths aged 12 to 18 years, said it was a pity that the focus in the new skills development courses was purely on earning an income. “We have traditional professions like weaving and pottery that are vanishing because the next generation of artisans is not being trained to take over. On the other hand, computer literacy and technical competence courses are actively encouraged by the government,” she said. Introducing social work into the school syllabus would create a more compassionate and perceptive society, she added.

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