Soon, a technical degree may no longer be enough to get a job in a top company. Instead, one may have to clear a skill ability test even before applying.
In a bid to improve the quality of technical and vocational education, the National Knowledge Commission has recommended setting up agencies to conduct skill tests of those who pass out before they apply for jobs. The private agencies could test the skills of graduates and inform the industry about their ability. And the job could be awarded accordingly.
In a set of recommendations submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office, the NKC has said independent agencies or industry bodies can conduct tests to ascertain the suitability of the output of institutions of higher learning. “This will help improve the quality of Indian workforce both in the international and domestic market. It will also help assess the education being delivered by a particular institution,” an NKC member said.
NASSCOM has already started competency tests for entry into the BPO and IT sectors. The first NASSCOM Assessment of Competency for the BPO sector was conducted in November. In January, a similar test will be conducted for entry into the IT industry, NASSCOM president Kiran Karnik announced on Thursday.
The NKC felt the need for mandatory tests following severe criticism of the quality of graduates from technical education institutions. Nandan Nilekani, chief executive of Infosys and a Commission member, pointed out that over 90 per cent of graduates from technical education institutes need skill upgradation to meet industry needs. NASSCOM had also said that most IT professionals from Indian institutes needed retraining after employment before they could be assigned tasks.
For financially-productive vocational education, the NKC has recommended that industry be allowed to open new vocational colleges to teach and train manpower as per their needs. “The government can also run present vocational colleges with the help of industry as part of public-private partnership,” the member said.
Work on this has already started. The Labour Ministry has decided to run 100 vocational colleges with the help of industry. The new colleges will be opened in collaboration with industry, a Planning Commission official said. He also said a National Mission on Vocational Training will be set up.