Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Prakash Javadekar, stating the government survey informed that the number of students enrolling for higher education in India saw a marginal 0.7 percent increase in 2016-17; the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in Higher Education had gone up 25.2 percent in 2016-17 from 24.5 per cent in 2015-16. The report was published on January 5, 2018.
Javadekar also stated that the country has set an aggressive target of achieving 30 percent GER in higher education by 2020. GER is the total enrolment in higher education among the population in the age group of 18-23.
According to the survey, the number of universities in the country rose to 864 last year as compared to 799 in 2015-16.Tamil Nadu had the highest GER in the country at 46.9 per cent. Bihar is at the bottom with 14.9 per cent of its youth in the age group of 18 to 23 enrolling for higher education.
The Higher Education is actually in high demand in every Trade and Professions, whereas, the Education System in India are simply imparting the courses without proper survey on Market demands, hence, brain drain is high toward the Western countries, it is not only for higher pay package, and securing the future of the individual, it is mainly due to none availability of job avenue in India.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government led by Narendra Damodardas Modi made an attempt to tap the Human Resources through his ambitious programme of Skill Development along with NITI Aayog. However, it is yet to witness any productive movement either due to lack of skilled trainers to nature the human resources, or lack of work culture amongst the youth to work hard, except focusing on government job. The similar status is in the state of Meghalaya.
The shortfall of skilled workers in Meghalaya is attributed to lack of industries in the state, the sector expected to provide incentives to the private industries, whether in services or manufacturing, to offer staff as instructors and engage in the creation of training institutions especially in backward and special category states.
There was an assurance made by the Union Minister of State for Skill Development, Rajiv Pratap Rudy made on the floor of the Parliament that in order to bridge the deficiency of Trained Trainers for skill development, his ministry will work closely with the Ministry of Defence to reemploy the retired Army personnel who have special training during their respective services, besides being disciplined. However, the relay hunger strike by Ex-servicemen and hundreds of retired defence personnel, demanding that the government announces a date for the introduction of the ‘One Rank One Pension’ policy, is in total contrast to the assurance made in the August House on skill development in the country.
In one of the exceptional political moves by Non- Congress ruled state, Tripura, headed by its Chief Minister Manik Sarkar has managed to cut across political lines amongst the eight states ruled by Congress, Left and regional parties to speak in one voice by urging Prime Minister to retain the ‘special category status’ for the mountainous states.
The resolution was sent to the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers of the eight states wanted to meet with him on the issue. Sarkar took the initiative and drafted the resolution, which was adopted by the other Chief Ministers.
It may be mentioned that currently, the eight northeastern states besides Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand have the special category tag. In these states, the funding pattern for central schemes is in the 90:10 ratio where 90 percent of the total expenditure is borne by the Centre while ten percent is contributed by the state.
According to Sarkar, the Northeastern states of India deserve a special dispensation despite the region having abundant human and natural resources. These resources remain untapped because of the faulty policies of the central government. He urged for the special status to be retained to ensure that these states continue to avail financial help and assistance from the central government to help bring these backward states at par with the other states of the country.
Meghalaya too is a youth dominated state as is seen in the rest of India. In a country where 51 percent of the population is under the age of 25 years of age, the enrolment figures in various educational establishments touches nearly ten million students annually. A similar number of graduates, post-graduates and technical graduates are added to the society Pan India, and this hill state too needs to find its own footing in the world of competition.
The youth from this area need to be motivated to voluntarily join skill development programmes. The central government project - National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has special STAR scheme have been initiated to boost employability and productivity of youth by providing them monetary incentives to voluntarily join an approved skill training course that is certified by the Sector Skill Councils, but there are hardly any takers from Meghalaya. This is not because the youth are not interested, it is simply because of the scarcity of trainers as prescribed by the schemes.
On the assumption that NSDC can reach out to about ten lakh youth through motivation, vocational training plays a critical role as the traditional instruction being carried out in various educational education simply produces graduates who are unemployable and unproductive, unable to take part in the recently introduced Make in India schemes to boost economy of the nation, as the Babus and the bureaucrats produced through colonial designs can only take instruction and seldom are visionaries who are autonomous in their working methods.
The failure to kick start any of the NSDC schemes here in Meghalaya is due to a lack of professionals with skills, starting from educational institutions. Most of the universities across India will only recruit teachers with a minimum of three years of industry knowledge on the subject to be taught in all professional courses. Here, most professional course teachers are fresh graduates or still pursuing their higher studies. How do we expect them to impart knowledge as demanded by the market?
The industries of the day require manpower on the job on day one, unlike in the past where the candidates can learn the skills on the job. Such a shortfall of skilled manpower due to conventional instruction in educational institutions coupled with reservation even in appointment of teachers has caused a disaster in Meghalaya with regard to producing unemployable and unproductive human resources, who only focus on government jobs.
Adding to the woes, the untrained section of the population will not even allow others who are intending to do so to acquire the skills, either due to the phobia of influx if the trainers are to be invited from outside, or unwillingness to compete with the rest of the nation if the youth have to go out for training or study.
As the rest of the states develop their respective skills and partake in the STAR scheme under National Skill Development Corporation, Meghalaya has a long way to go to motivate our youth to change their perspective with regard to learning and employment, otherwise the new face of unemployment in the state of Meghalaya will be the fallout of untrained manpower and saturated government jobs which will only produce more unrest and conflicts within the society. It is time to think of multi-tasking of skills rather than specialization and reservations of quota.