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Interview

Interoperability of Credits between Vocational and Mainstream Schooling can Improve Inclusion and Quality of Education

Mrs-Shaheen-Khan

Believes, Shaheen Khan, Director of CEDP Skill Institute Mumbai, in an interaction with Ekta Srivastava, Education Technology.in…

How do you think specialized certifications will add value add for high skilled workforce?

More than 93% of India’s workforce is in the unorganized sector. Hence strengthening and certifying the skills of the unorganized workforce will contribute to overall economic development of this sector.  Our country presently faces a dual challenge of paucity of highly trained workforce, as well as non-employability of large sections of the conventionally educated youth, who possess little or no job skills.

As India moves progressively towards becoming a global knowledge economy, it must meet the rising aspirations of its youth. This can be partially achieved through focus on advancement of skills that are relevant to the emerging economic environment. The challenge pertains not only to a huge quantitative expansion of the facilities for skill training, but also to the equally important task of raising their quality.

To remain competitive in the global marketplace means manufacturers must attract and hire highly skilled and trained workers and retain those workers for long periods of time. Traditional recruitment and selection practices alone do not meet the needs of manufacturers for hiring skilled and motivated employees. Recruiting a qualified manufacturing workforce—from engineering to biotech—remains a persistent challenge.

What technology initiatives do you see gaining maximum ground for Corporate Training, Vocational Education, and Skills Training?

Our country can improve inclusion and quality of education by adopting a credit-based system for vocational education and allowing interoperability of credits between vocational and mainstream schooling. This system will encourage students to complete their academic education while also acquiring practical skills that will help them find jobs with employers that need their talents. Use of technology-enabled solutions such as massive open online courses (MOOCs) to enhance the reach and quality of vocational education is gaining ground. MOOCs are online platforms offering a wide range of courses, most of them developed in partnership with reputable institutions. MOOCs may be a good short-term solution for bridging skill gaps.

How, in your opinion, will CEDP solutions add value to education in a country where rural areas have such a high rate of dropouts?

Council of Education and Development Programmes (CEDP) was formed in the year 2010, with a sole objective of providing improved quality of life to individuals and groups through apt training and education. Since then, the organization has strived to provide the most relevant training solutions to not only the metro and the mini-metro cities of the country, but to the most remote geographies so that the student communities at large can benefit from the knowledge gained from the education provided and enhance their employ-ability and therefore, employment opportunities.

At the same time, it has been a constant focus of the organization towards training and re-training requirements of the companies operating in the nation, to continuously improve productivity levels of the workforce. In this manner, the companies have formidably benefited in terms of the process and costs to hire, train and retain their respective manpower within their system. Currently CEDP has are 147 training and education centers across the country.

CEDP focuses more on research innovation in the field chosen is something which we promote to have a lifelong learning

In terms of infrastructure, do you think the government can do anything for aiding this adoption?

We are lacking in terms of infrastructure availability to train such a huge mass of youth. There has been a lower enrolment at VET facilities, particularly by women, because of a lack of awareness, lack of funds, and poor access to training locally.

Some of these challenges could be mitigated by CSR. Some of the funds from CSR could be earmarked for skill development. Apart from providing funding or scholarships to disadvantaged sections, CSR funds could also be deployed to build infrastructure locally so that the students do not have to travel far for training. Companies could also donate their used tools and equipment to training providers or even allow candidates to learn on the job in their establishments by taking them as apprentices. Some of the CSR funds could be used for incubation or provided as soft loans for the weaker sections to set up their own business.

Under new situations and challenges, what relationships should universities pay more attention to in the process of innovative development?

The primary focus of most industry-university collaborations is joint research, but many have an impact on teaching and learning that develops naturally out of the partnership. Professors join a project inside the company and researchers agree to lecture, creating a fruitful ongoing exchange that helps modernise curricula.

At the same time when companies and universities work in tandem to push the frontiers of knowledge, they become a powerful engine for innovation and economic growth. Silicon Valley is a dramatic example. For over five decades, a dense web of rich and long-running collaborations in the region have given rise to new technologies at a breakneck pace, and transformed industries while modernising the role of the university

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