A recent article highlighted how the systematic skill gap in India could potentially cost about $1.97 trillion in opportunity. Let’s put the figure in a relative context. Spread over the ten-year period from 2018 to 2028, this figure currently represents approximately two-thirds of India’s gross domestic product (GDP).At the January 2018 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Indian economy’s inevitable march toward an estimate of $5 trillion. Considering the fact that India has been claimed to be a $5 trillion economy on numerous occasions ever since, this opportunity cost of nearly $2 trillion can end up being the most crucial’ gap’ that policymakers may need to assess as soon as possible.
What does this alarming statistic mean for the growth story of India? This is important in the educational sector context. Automation and interdisciplinary forms of employment will be rapidly introduced with the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In time, the unemployed engineers will carve new bastions in the traditional career paths to which most professionals may now be accustomed.
First and foremost, the prevalent skill gap in India needs to be addressed. This can be addressed through a multi-stakeholder approach involving the regulator of the education sector, the ecosystem of private education, as well as the student bodies involved in higher education pursuits. Even though penetration can only increase, the average Indian millennial already invests in reskilling and upskilling efforts.
As we know, there is a definite distinction between’ upskilling’ and’ reskilling.’ The former primarily refers to an employee who reacts to external changes resulting in a fundamental transformation of their immediate job. Examples might include the infusion of a new technology that introduces a more complex pattern of work in the same work area. On the contrary, reskilling refers to the exact opposite, in which employees are expected to engage in new roles that are not fundamentally more complex than their existing roles, but often exist in a separate area of work.
Any sustainable effort to address the skill gap in India will focus on investing in reskilling and upskilling. In fact, it remains one of the cheapest ways to introduce employable skills to the workforce, from free MOOC courses to pricier industry certifications, with a host of educational options as well as a variety of price points.