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Bridging India’s skills gap with OER

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A star (*) means more info is offered in References and Notes section.

This blog covers following topics:

  1. INDUSAPTI* and Demographic
  2. ICT Challenges
  3. Activities List
  4. Jobs Economic System
  5. Indian Economy
  6. Imparting skills through OER
  7. References and notes

 

INDUSAPTI* and Demographic  

INDUSAPTI (INDUSA Practical Technologies Institute) is described in my blog “Emerging India”*. An objective of INDUSAPTI virtual school, an Open Educational Resource (OER)* is: “to let all visitors, especially rural youth and slum dwellers to develop the habits and culture of honoring their natural skills, which are the most valuable and only truly renewable resource in the world today.”  

For decades, people took dynamism and economic growth for granted and saw population growth as a problem. Now we’ve gone to the other extreme, and it’s clear that young people are the scarce resource. For past few decadesIndiahas enjoyed healthy demographics.

In the second decade of 21st centuryIndia has vast reservoir of unskilled youth, mostly with high school or less education, looking for opportunities to get ahead. The sustained economic growth will be determined by how fastIndia can impart skills to 70 million youth mostly in rural and urban slums in the next five years.India aims at increasing the percentage of workforce with formal skills through vocational education and training from 12 per cent to 25 per cent at the end of the Twelfth Plan.

Given resources such as OER, vocational and higher education to bridge the skills gap the healthy demographics ofIndiawill continue to produce plenty of young workers. By 2030, according to the Vienna Institute of Demography,Indiawill have (additional) 100 million relatively educated young men.

Indiafaces regional challenges. Population growth is high in the northern parts of the country, where people tend to be poorer and less educated. Meanwhile, fertility rates in the southern parts of the country, where people are richer and better educated, are already below replacement levels.

ICT Challenges 

ICT (internet connectivity technologies) applications are required for using OER, such as INDUSAPTI. Using OER and ICT it is for youth to develop their natural human resources to pursue a productive life. Ideally, an access to a workshop or equivalent is needed to reduced to practice lessons learned using OER. Vigyan Ashram and numerous vocational training centers committed to nai talim programs all acrossIndiaprovide workshops in public sector. There are many private manufacturing businesses with workshops available to employees to update their skills.

The uses of OER are dependent on ready availability of digital technology based communication devises such as PC, iPad and Tablets such as Aakash. It is for the government, business communities and adults in the family to provide ICT tools to youth to further education and role based skills development in this competitive environment.

We believe offering the OER in local Indian languages – a feature of INDUSAPTI – to students with access to internet connectivity can help motivated DIY (do-it-yourself) students interested in developing job skills and it can help bridge skills gap seen inIndia. Given training in the practical technologies such as that offered by IDUSAPTI, we believe, DIY students can be innovators and entrepreneurs not only to make a decent living but also create jobs that will accelerate rural development.

Activities List 

Bridging India’s skills gap is a major task. A majority of job seeking Indian youth have 3rd – 12th grade education. An understanding of available roll or activities based jobs is needed to empower youth with matching job skills.

Some youth with high school or less education are naturally innovators and entrepreneurs. Every innovator and entrepreneur potentially is a job creator. For an objective of turning the growing number of educated and semi educated youth into skilled job creators a need exists for developing an encyclopedia of skills required to fill millions of jobs annually being created in India’s 13 industry sectors. With workforce of millions of unskilled youth from rural and slum communities a challenge is to identify all suitable jobs and the skills needed to fill them with qualified youth. In order to identify jobs for high school or less education a government department has developed an activities list that may be useful to map out skills needed to fill each job created in the 13 industry sectors.*

The activity list requires every student to know and develop an ability to perform select ICT applications relevant to life and work. Basic ICT applications are performed using a computer such as tablet Aakash that is internet active and student is familiar with search engine activities.

Generally the youth with high school or less education are qualified for or have skills to perform household and community (pariwar) activities including work areas related to house keeping, food and kitchen, health and medicine, education and knowledge, livelihood and earning, social and pariwar networking contacts and communications, sales and marketing, transport, travel and tours, etc. The list could be made more exhaustive.

The search engines for ICT applications offer a variety of OER in each of activities including information to enhance cooking skills. For example, students learning to cook can find a variety of recopies for any dish they wish to improve upon. Students interested in health issues can find a wealth of reliable information on medicines, methods of healthcare for any specific ailment, or skills needed to be a nurse, a clinical technician, a nurse’s assistant or patient care provider in doctors office and hospital settings. Curious students interested in working for hospitality industry can find all required information on tourism, travel and being a tour conductor.

There are several levels of activity that depend on the complexity and responsibility a person can handle. Briefly these levels include family and pariwar related work, market and work place related work, community related work (serving, organizing, managing, participating in decision making and doing SUPW or socially useful and productive work), management related work, class and school management, website for school and community, open resources created for the use of all citizens, etc.

The job skills for the level of work and role are determined by the employee’s level of knowledge or learning, skills for handling technology and its complexity and the value and wealth of the items of work the employee can handled or perform.

Jobs and Economic System 

With adoption of a model called “democratic development capitalism”Indiahas a mixed economy or PP (private public partnership) that offers potential for jobs growth in the organized sectors including manufacturing, services sectors, healthcare, and agribusinesses.Indiaannually is creating about 1.5 million jobs.India’s 13 industry sectors in 2011 created an estimated 1.4 million jobs and for 2012 the estimate is 1.6 million.

A survey of 639 companies across 13 industry sectors in eight major Indian cities showed that healthcare, hospitality, IT/ITES, non-machinery manufacturing, media and entertainment are most optimistic about hiring activities. Health care is projected to generate more than 273,000 jobs, followed by hospitality (over 230 thousand) and IT/ITES (more than 227,000).

IT/ITES sectors are vibrant for growth. A Microsoft commissioned study, conducted by IDC, predicts that cloud computing will generate over two million jobs inIndiaand 14 million jobs worldwide by 2015. More than 50 per cent of these jobs will be generated in the small and medium businesses. Further, more than two million jobs each will be generated in the ‘communications and media’ and manufacturing sectors, followed by banking at over 1.4 million.

Indian Economy 

Globally, India’s 2011-12 GDP ranks 4th based on PPP (purchasing power parity) of $4.5 trillion and 9th on nominal $1.85 trillion economy.India’s 2011-12 GDP represents contributions by 3 prime sectors: agriculture, industry and services.

India’s large service industry accounts for 57.2% of the country’s GDP. The service sector makes up 34% and industrial sector around 14% of jobs. The industrial and agricultural sectors contribute 28.6% and 14.6% respectively to GDP. Agriculture is the predominant occupation in rural India, accounting for about 52% of employment. The 2009–10 government survey used a smaller sample size than earlier surveys and it suggested that the share of agriculture in employment had dropped to 45.5%.

Major industries include telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery and software. The labor force totals 500 million workers. Major agricultural products include rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, potatoes, cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, poultry and fish. In 2009–2010, India’s top five trading partners wereUnited Arab Emirates,China,United States,Saudi Arabia andGermany.

Imparting Skills through OER 

This section offers select theoretical background to improve understanding of various relationships associated with SUPW, education, work, technology, activities or rolls, functions or work processes, OER e-curriculums, and related topics. The discussion defines nai talim (new paradigm) education and how it differs from traditional “rote and regurgitate” model of education used for more than a century inIndia. Central to development of the nai talim concepts is how as a quality education model it enriches the society, individual and situations.

OER offers tools to learn for and from working/developing for the outcomes of Socially Useful and Productive Work (SUPW). A worker can play higher level roles if better and higher technologies, materials and knowledge are made available to him/her. The integration of work with knowledge, socio-technological situations and value creation requires the processes of training and education not only in realm of vocational education, but it slowly transforms vocational education into ‘higher’ education’.  The following equation sums of the relation:

Education + Work + Technology à  SUPW

 INDUSAPTI virtual school with ICT applications offers:

  • Use of networking; especially economic networking is a vehicle for offering formal as well as face-to-face    education.
  • new processes of digitization, virtualization, personalization for individual and group,
  • open resource movement,
  • Wiki processes of mass participation in collaborative work and various ways of social

 

The forces for skilled based job training are driven by:

  • The work place demands
  • Ever changing technologies
  • The goal is to create socially useful and productive work for social or market profitability.
  • Social usefulness of the work means the quality linked with conformity to standards, relevance (fitness for   the purpose) and customer satisfaction quality.
  • Social productivity means the quality, profitability, affordability and sustainability of the products and      services produced.
  • Work is wholesome work containing Routine, Rest, Progress and Pleasure in an integrated way.
  • Technology is the non-destructive, non-exploitative empowering technology for production by masses.

 

E-Curriculum based on role and functions include processes and expected results. Activities impart knowledge with tools and other OER. Student advances in role playing as his/her performance is improved. Each process incorporates context, situations and supporting information for learning, teaching and evaluation. Such a curriculum is the basis for implementing role, activities and results driven education.

Following two relationships define roles:

  • Role –> Functions – work processes  –> Results
  • Higher Level Roles –>  Higher functions – processes –> Higher Results

 

This e-curriculum leads to a triangle of linking

  •  OER + Roles and Activities + Curriculum –>  SUPW

 

The learning through activities leads to the outcome that enriches the society, individual and situations. Such quality education through OER is delivered to students at his/her doorsteps as students go through a process of playing various roles in their chosen areas in pursuit of better income generation and upwards mobility in society.

Outcomes of INDUSAPTI-VA (IIE) developed OER systems is to offer work centric nai talim (new paradigm) for specific jobs suitable for secondary school (11 – 12 grades) graduates. The nai talim driven OER will enhance, catalyze and accelerate creation of role based courses and encourage establishments of study and training centers for continuous training offering opportunities for up gradation of job skills and competence capabilities. The OER will also serve as a valuable ready-reference source delivered at their doorsteps for continuous and sustainable development of teaching materials. This PP (private-public partnership) for work centric nai talim can serve as a creative mechanism for value and wealth generation for the socio-economic rural communities and urban slums.

To make the OER serve needs of youth in rural areas and urban slum the program encourages government and politicians to make funding available for the ICT applications driven infrastructure and through PP partnership available at affordable prices or for need based students free of charge across entireIndia. With this in mind GoI has already helped develop a tablet, Aakash, for distribution to students. The OER processes should enable development of rural technologies and man power needs of expanding tourism and hospitality industry.

The nai talim OER differs from traditional teaching on the content (subject) basis to a Wikipedia model of role basis, which is work or process result basis.

Traditional model Teacher/trainer and content/tool centric education has proven inadequate to meet growing needs of millions of jobs being created in growing Indiaeconomy in 21st century. As against 3.3% growth in established developed nationIndia’s GDP growth from 1980 to present has been 6.2%. This growth over last two decades was accelerated as ICT applications matured and Indian PP partnership political model has exploited to create jobs for as many of 57% unskilled potential workers. These job seekers need access to OER offered by NGOs such as INDUSAPTI that is designed to offer a role guided process and result based education – the nai talim based on Wikipedia model.

The nai talim process and results oriented education identifies basic nature of concept in knowledge resources. Any concept, besides being a process, usually contains the following associated information:

  1. Facts & information
  2. Meaning, contexts & definitions
  3. Processes (experiments)
  4. Theorems and principles
  5. Concept  applications

 

In nai talim model all these will be specific process/function related to roles to solve the contextual and situational problems using concept and associated information as and when required and as much as is required.

Learning is the process of knowing, doing-working, team work or working together – in a group, small or big – cooperatively or collaboratively and transforming individually or in a group, organization or institution. The OER nai talim model is creativity and work based learning by learner and it is development centric.

References and notes

  1.  Google Search, “INDUSAPTI” at http://www.learningwhiledoing.in/     
  • To support operating expenses for the INDUSPTI we are in process of incorporating in the US an NGO, ‘INDUSA-Vigyan Ashram (Indian Institute of Education) Foundation’ or INDUS-VA (IIE) Foundation in Texas and registering it as a tax exempt organizations under section 501 (c) (4) of the Internal Revenue code.
  1. Kishan Bhatia, “Emerging India” 1107 1120 2011 (Revised 1118) (3,731** words; posted 1211 2011) http://www.indiacause.com/blog/2011/12/11/emerging-india-rural-educatio/
  2. Private communication (2011).
  3. Khan Academy pioneered the Open Educational Resources.
  4. Please take time to review a very informative video by the CBS program 60 minutes; http://www.current-movie-reviews.com/39828/previews/2012/03/11/60-minutes-tonight-31112-nuclear-iran-khan-academy-and-aerosmith-success/
  • It is my dream that we at INDUSAPTI can duplicate Mr Khan’s educational methods and success with potentially more than one billion Indians.
  • Briefly, Dr. Sanjay Gupta spoke with Sal Khan, the innovative creator of Khan Academy, an online      educational website visited daily by more than 4 million students to retrieve free assistance on a variety of subjects from math to biology to art history.
  • This success story started in 2004 when Khan was tutoring his cousin in algebra and YouTube videos were posted. The videos were discovered by others who would send and provide inspirational feedback about the help they delivered, so Sal Khan quit his job to be a fulltime educator for world class knowledge at no cost to students.
  • Bill Gates discovered the videos while searching for training material for his own children and soon millions of dollars were donated to Khan Academy from Google and the Gates Foundation.
  • Khan contributes the high success rate of the tutorials due to the lack of distraction since the videos only     include his voice and diagrams.
  • Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google, remarks that the newest visionary innovation to the Khan Academy, a “dashboard” which delivers real-time progress reports, may be just the educational breakthrough platform to change the way education is approached in theUnited States. This is a clip of that segment~
  1. Schools launch iPad learning By Monica Rohr (monica.rhor@chron.com); Front page story in the      Houston Chronicle, March 14, 2012.
  2. B. Aravind Kumar,  “Bridging India’s skills gap,” http://www.thehindu.com/education/issues/article2963328.ece?homepage=true
  3. India’s organized sector to create 16 lakh jobs this year, http://www.firstpost.com/fwire/indias-organised-sector-to-create-16-lakh-jobs-this-year-234764.html
  4. Clouds can rain jobs in India, http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/article2963623.ece
  5. Economic Survey 2010 – 11, http://exim.indiamart.com/economic-survey10-11/
  6. Economy of India, Wikipedia, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Economy-of-India/105479572818587?sk=wiki

 

 

 

 

 

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Social activist, social entrepreneur and blogger on contemporary issues of interests to US and South Asia


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