The TVET Scenario and Challenges Faced by the SAARC Nations: With a Special Focus on the Indian Situation

The TVET Scenario and Challenges Faced by the SAARC Nations: With a Special Focus on the Indian Situation

Sumedha Tyagi (Vardhaman Mahaveeer Open University, India)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1811-2.ch006
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The chapter aimed at examining the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) issues across South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries with a view to understanding current scenario and challenges faced by them in terms of skilling their population in order to reap demographic dividend. It helped comprehend the skill issue in the context of globalization and sought to scrutinize how the skilling efforts that have moved on to central stage in all countries are regarded an important growth driver in knowledge based globalized economy. It explored the theme in a much wider context across nations and clearly brings out that these nations have a scarcity of trained workforce resulting in low work productivity, inadequately trained faculty, irrelevance of course content low industry involvement in TVET and terribly low institutional training capacity, TVET systems being too supply driven and far-removed from market demand. The chapter's inquiry based on primary data collected from the National Capital Region of India revealed this phenomenon clearly. The methodology combined both primary data with that of secondary data to support our hypotheses formulated in the study. The study has direct policy implications to India and other SAARC countries that the challenges to provide skill training are enormous in view of its complexity and heterogeneity of labour force. Continuous up gradation of skills is, therefore, paramount necessity in the context of globalized milieu. Unless numerous technical and vocational courses are qualitatively improved to make them marketable, these would continue to become less relevant to the needs of market.
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Skills and knowledge are the driving forces of economic growth and social development of any country. The economy becomes more productive, innovative and competitive through the existence of more skilled human potential. The level of employment, its composition and the growth in employment opportunities are the critical indicators of the process of development in any economy. Increasing pace of globalization and technological changes provide both challenges and growing opportunities for economic expansion and job creation. In taking advantage of these opportunities as well as in minimizing the social costs and dislocation, which the transition to a more open economy entails, the level and quality of skills that a nation possess are becoming critical factors. Countries with higher and better levels of skills adjust more effectively to the challenges and opportunities of globalization (Planning Commission, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India, 2011).

The world is undergoing a phase of new global economy that is dominated by knowledge, skills and emerging technologies. Therefore, the economies that grew at rapid pace are primarily the Knowledge Based Economies, educated and skilled labour force which is the key to the economic growth. Thus the human resource in an economy should have the knowledge and skills to assimilate new and rapidly emerging technologies. Skilled workforce has played a key role in economic growth of almost all the developed countries in Asia particularly, in their industrial growth during the last five decades. For example the economies of Japan, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Malaysia are among a few of the classical examples of recent era where the main stay of industrial growth, poverty reduction and employment generation was on their skilled and knowledge based workforce. As a matter of fact, these countries are exporting the knowledge and skills of their people. Adequately trained workforce played a pivotal role for these economies to remain competitive in emerging global economic arena and thus the strategic advantage of skilled workforce was capitalized for significant contribution in poverty reduction. Whereas, on the other hand, the importance of skill development for global competition has been ignored to a great extent by some of the countries particularly, in South Asia and as a result their economies have been suffering to a great extent.

The 21st Century necessitates developing a workforce in demand driven skills by appropriately investing in education and training to achieve sustainable economic development. Skill development in the modern era is extremely important for nations to compete globally. In South Asia a large part of the workforce continues to have low income opportunities because of low levels of skill. This situation can improve through more investment in education and training in the coming years. Acquisition of new technologies provides potential for improvement in global trade share. Sound economic policies and the way in which these actions are translated into strategies provide a foundation to promote employment-related human performance across all sectors of the economy. Key challenge in designing such strategies is how sensitive and innovative the regional countries are to the occupational needs of people with skills. Young population requires skills needed by the economy and the already employed workforce needs skills up-dating.

Investment in priority areas of education and skills development is very important for South Asia to reduce the skill gaps of the workforce. This gap is likely to widen in the coming years across region, if additional investment is not rapidly made. In order to have a sound TVET system in a country, a solid foundation in the form of basic education is a prerequisite. Many areas of the South Asia region are suffering badly due to lack of investment in core general education system. Likewise, it is also equally important to develop skills that are transferable across the occupations. The high illiteracy rates in South Asia add to the costs of doing business. Focus and investment in education and training is the key to progress for economic development. Societies which do not gear themselves to learn, find it difficult to progress.

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