One of the ironies of India’s economic growth is that it has led to prosperity for a relatively small section of society while not being able to lift masses out of poverty. What aggravates this state of affairs further is that this growth has not been able to integrate the masses into the organised sector of theIndian economy.
According to an Indian labour report by TeamLease Services India is grappling with the problems of low college enrollment, an employability crisis of unskilled labor and lack of flexibility of the education sector.
The report goes on to say that the issue of employability is centered on two challenges: The first one is a lack of access to education and skills, and the second is rigour in education quality standards.
The problem of a lack of educational quality standards leads to the mismatch between supply of skills by labour or the lack of it and demand for the skills by industry. Etasha, our non-profit organisation, tries to bridge this gap by providing career guidance, employability skills and vocational training programs and placement to young people from disadvantaged communities in India.
Etasha is working with different models to enable disadvantaged youth to get employment in the organised sector by providing training them employability skills. One of the two of our very successful models is to run our own centres where we mobilise and then train youth to place them into organised sector careers. Right now we have two such centres in two slum colonies in Delhi, one in Madanpur Khaddar and another in Khanpur, Tigri. Secondly , we are working in partnership with government ITIs to provide training in soft skills to enable the students in these institutions to get jobs.
One of the innovative solutions that the report suggests to tackle the problem of employability skills is the opening of community colleges in India.
As the report says “These colleges would end the dead end view of vocational education by allowing those with certificates and diplomas to convert them into associate degrees and degrees with additional study. They would expand geographic access via multiple delivery modes (small centers, large campuses, internet/ satellite campus and apprenticeships), and place employers at the heart of curriculum, certification and outcomes ”.
Etasha is about to open a community college in partnership with Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in Madanpur Khadar, a slum colony in south east Delhi. For we view the entire concept of a community college as an opportunity to train young people in the catchment area of the community college as per the requirements of local industry. The idea behind opening this community college in this particular area is that through the community college we will be provide employability training, which will be in tune with the strengths and needs of the local community and requirements of local industry, to the youth of the community.