Education And Skill Development: Same Or Different?

Posted by vaibhav jain
January 23, 2017

Education is certainly the necessary condition for the growth of the society and the country. But is it also the sufficient condition?

We all understand the importance of education in our lives. However, what should be its nature is still a matter of debate and discussion. Its unfortunate that the society has very comfortably settled for a standard definition of education: go to school, get good marks, go to college, get good mark!

We, as a society, need to reimagine and reinvent our definition of education. We need to understand what it actually stands for. Does it stand for learning tonnes and tonnes of facts, or grasping every single element only to vomit it out in the examination? Education certainly does not stand for any of this.

The human mind is not programmed to store bundles of information. Instead, its function is to observe, analyse and think critically. It’s high time that we question the relevance of our education system in the light of the internet age, when an ocean of information is available just a click away.

According to National Employability Report 2015, more than 80% of the engineers in the country are “unemployable”. What can be more alarming for a country that boasts of its “human resource”?

When we use the term “unemployable”, we also need to understand who exactly is “employable” and what do the “employers” want? The employers have nothing to do with your degrees and marks when it comes to hiring. What they certainly look for is your skill set. How does it even matter whether you get 80% or 90% in your exams, when you can perform nothing on the ground. What employers want from you are results. But we are never taught to produce the results on ground, however, we are certainly taught how to produce the results in exams. Sadly, this is what the state of affairs is, when it comes to our education system.

Imagine how efficient a system  it would be, if we manage to ensure that every student passing out of high school is well-trained in at-least one skill, along with the customary education. More than 12 years of schooling are more than sufficient for a student to become a master of that skill. Employment will no longer be an issue. Every person will be the best at his or her skill, and the best are always in demand.

There has always been a hue and cry over lack of employment. Unemployment can be best tackled by skill development.We should also understand that we don’t need only the highly educated, and so called “qualified” engineers, doctors and bankers; we also need to have well-trained plumbers, carpenters, drivers, and masons for the society.

To put it straight, Skill = Employment !

Now the question arises: What exactly is a skill?

Engineering, being able to conduct a surgery, and for that matter, driving and tailoring are all skills. In fact everything that can be learned is a skill. I’m writing this article, because I have the skill of writing.

The Ministry of Education in the Government of India was fondly rechristened “Ministry of Human Resource Development” in 1985. Now we have a “Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship”. Ironic, isn’t it?

How do they distinguish between human resource development and skill development? For so many years, we have kept skill development away from our education system. Its high time that we integrate skill development. Its high time that we introduce skill training as an essential part of our curriculums, both at the high school and university levels. We are already running late by decades, and behind the world.