October 13, 2012

Skill Development & India: Challenges !

Would you like to become someone who is looked down upon in society? Say an ambulance chaser? Just imagine that you have a choice to become a doctor or a fashion designer, and the society you live in accords more respect to a doctor, would you prefer the later route? Besides livelihood people work hard to earn respect of society around them. Can you say I bought a Ferrari by selling contraband? People are identified by their profession and skills so skills are important part of what a person is? Isn’t it?

Government of India has realized that no economic development is possible without inculcating critical skills in people of India. Economic growth based on capital has limitations as compared to skills the capital as resource is less impact on sustainable growth. CK Prahalad & Gary Hemel introduced the concept of Core Competencies into Management literature. Michael Porter, another strategy stalwart, advised many governments to persuade them to build a Competitive Advantage for their economy and companies.  Presence of large number people having knowledge of English language available at low cost provided  competitive advantage to India in the BPO sector for couple of decades. China took few years to scale up their assembly & manufacturing on the basis of manual skills present in the Chinese people. Indian people on the other hand don’t seem to have manual skills needed for achieving success in manufacturing space.

Ustad Ahmad Lahouri a Persian is the architect behind India’s iconic Taj Mahal built during Moghul period. Silks in India come from Karnataka as people have traditional skills in silk rearing & weaving Punjab has grey yarn spinning industry as cotton is grown in large quantities here.  Religious men from Hinduism & Islam claim to predict your future on the basis of their knowledge of astrology etc.  But skills in India have been associated with caste classification of society as per the Hindu belief system. And perhaps the caste system is the culprit for vanishing of skills among the people. Another view is that since the British ruled India for couple of centuries wanted to prepare clerical slaves for the Empire, so they manipulated the education system to produce educated people with just average communication skills rather than preparing masses for vocations as the British wanted to flood the made in UK goods into India.

Well past is past! Presently most Indians prefer to work on white collar jobs rather work with their hands. It’s rare to find a great carpenter or blacksmith in India. Why? Because when a carpenter’s child gets a clerical job then he would not be called a carpenter but a clerk. A clerk or babu is considered a more respectable profession in India as per caste system. Therefore thousands of engineers graduating from technical universities can score exceptionally high marks in written exams but hardly anyone can use hands to fix a machine.  Unless the government addresses the social stigma attached to skilled people not many would be prepared to learn the skills required by India for nation building. India can create national level competitions every month in various critical skills and honor the winners with large sum of money. Higher income can diminish the hurt involved in learning new skills in caste ridden medieval society of India. 


Kanwal said...

All your articles are worth reading. Thanks for such postings.

Dr.Sanjiv Marwah said...

Well said !!! Polytechnics graduates deliver better than engineering graduates in the workforce and soon would be given better salaries than unemployable engineers.
Sorry for this but the MBA's also face the same future.
Till the time the right and committed candidates pursue higher education for skill development and not pursuance of paper degree this should continue.

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