What skills India: How skilling in India is evolving, the transformative journey - Hindustan Times
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What skills India: How skilling in India is evolving, the transformative journey

By, New Delhi
Mar 01, 2024 02:44 PM IST

According to a report by IBEF, the Indian education sector is expected to amass USD 225 billion in value by the end of 2025.

India, a burgeoning powerhouse of talent and innovation, stands at a crucial juncture in its educational and professional skilling journey.

As students transition into higher education, the focus shifts to bridging the skill gap between academic knowledge and industry requirements. (Representative Image)
As students transition into higher education, the focus shifts to bridging the skill gap between academic knowledge and industry requirements. (Representative Image)

The landscape of learning and development is undergoing a monumental shift, driven by the needs of a digital economy, changing job markets, and the aspirations of its young population.

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According to a report by IBEF, the Indian education sector is expected to amass USD 225 billion in value by the end of 2025.

Here's an exploration of how skilling in India is evolving, punctuated by data and trends that highlight this transformative journey.

Skilling the school students- Early child education

Early education recognition is essential as preschools lay the groundwork for future education by fostering children's emotional, intellectual, and physical growth, which shapes their adult selves.

The foundation of India's skilling revolution begins at the school level, with a significant emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education. Then the hierarchy goes with K-12 education in India which is a vast and diverse segment, encompassing kindergarten through 12th grade.

Reports suggest a notable increase in STEM enrollment and the K-12 segment both owing to the integration of Edtech platforms in the digital age. Digital literacy programs are being incorporated into the curriculum to prepare students for a tech-savvy future, aiming to reach 80% proficiency among school students, as per a KPMG analysis.

Early childhood education technology platforms are increasingly gaining popularity, making learning accessible and engaging for young children by using interactive and personalized tools to enhance cognitive and social skills.

According to Inc42, the top 5 EdTech players in India in k12 education are Byju’s, Unacademy, Vedantu, UpGrad, and Simplilearn. Complementing these strides, government initiatives like the NEP 2020 aims to increase the Gross Enrollment Ratio to 100% in school education by 2030, underlining a commitment to universalize education at all levels.

University students- Bridging the skill gap

As students transition into higher education, the focus shifts to bridging the skill gap between academic knowledge and industry requirements. Universities are collaborating more with businesses and drawing insights from tech leaders to incorporate practical training in AI, data analytics, and cyber security.

According to a BCG report, such partnerships have boosted employability by 25% in specialized fields. However, with 1,113 universities and a GER of 27.3% as of November 2023, India needs increased financial support to elevate teacher quality, foster innovation, and upgrade infrastructure in its education sector.

Encouraging Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and facilitating External Commercial Borrowing (ECB) could prove as viable solutions to tackle these challenges.

Professionals- Continuous learning and upskilling

Going ahead, India is regarded as the world capital of skilled workforce. However, an IBM report states that at present only 48% of India’s youth is employable, meaning 1 out of every 2 Indian youth may not carry skills crucial for employment.

In the professional realm, the focus on skill development revolves around continual learning and adaptability. To keep pace with the swiftly evolving technological landscape, workers are embracing certifications and online courses.

According to a collaborative study by IBM and LinkedIn, 60% of Indian professionals engaged in upskilling activities in the past year, showing a keen interest in digital marketing, blockchain, and cloud computing. Specifically, enrollment in digital marketing and AI-focused micro-courses has skyrocketed by over 400% from 2023 to 2024, reflecting the market's rapid adaptation to digital-first strategies.

The Indian government, recognizing this shift, has allocated a significant portion of its education budget in 2023—reportedly increasing funding by 50% for digital learning.

Corporate investments in employee learning and development have mirrored this trend, with a reported 200% increase in corporate-sponsored enrollments in micro-credential courses by December 2023, according to TCS, with India poised to further solidify its position as a global hub for skilled professionals adept in navigating the challenges of a digital economy.

Homemakers and education – Unconventional strides in Skilling in India

Homemaker women in India are increasingly looking towards upskilling and working from home as a viable option to contribute to their families' incomes while managing household responsibilities.

The pandemic has significantly influenced this trend, with job searches for working from home in India soaring high complemented by the escalating access to the internet that has been made available to women. As per a report by Forbes India, by 2025, 65% of all new internet users will be women.

On the other hand, the proliferation of remote work in India has triggered substantial transformations, notably in the domains of upskilling and career progression. There has been a remarkable 47% uptick in productivity among companies embracing the work-from-home paradigm, with a staggering 82% of employees expressing a preference for this mode of work in 2023. This surge in remote work opportunities has emerged as a catalyst for professional development aided by work methodologies from home, thereby bridging the skill-demand gap.

India's journey towards becoming a skilled nation is marked by ambitious initiatives and collaborative efforts across generations. While significant progress has been made in skilling school students, university students, and professionals, the evolving nature of work and technology calls for continuous adaptation and investment in learning.

(Authored by Aroon Kumar, VP – Brand & Marketing, M Square Media. Views are personal)

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