Wednesday, February 22, 2012

NSDC to give thrust to Swiss vocational training method

National Skill Development Council, a not-for-profit company set up by the Ministry of Finance, is looking to give a thrust to the adoption of the Swiss model of vocational education and training in India. The education method in Switzerland encourages school students to pursue apprenticeship in any chosen vocational field so that they are industry-ready when they graduate.

At the backbone of this vocational training is the cooperation between trade associations, educational institutions, government bodies and companies. Several companies are willing to offer practical training to students. After schooling, students in Switzerland can choose from 240 vocations and, at a later stage, from 400 professional education training options. Vocational education diploma holders are productive from day one as they are fully trained in the production environment; they can even pursue higher education at a later stage.

The Swiss government is responsible for monitoring the development and quality assurance of the entire system. This system has worked because Switzerland has a low youth unemployment rate at 7.2 per cent – compared to 9.7 per cent in Germany, 19.1 per cent in UK and 18.4 per cent in the US, said Dr Fraziska Schwarz, Director – International Relations, Swiss Federal Office for Professional Education and Training, at a Skills Development Summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

The Swiss Vocational Education and Training Initiative was piloted in India last year in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa in partnership with SkillSonics, a Bangalore-based company that specialises in imparting training in the engineering sector. The joint initiative has trained 150 apprentices in mechanical, production and technician skills. The State industrial training institutes and companies such as ABB and ACC lent their support in this venture. Plans are on to launch similar courses in food processing, ICT, hospitality and pharmaceuticals verticals.

NSDC is in talks with SkillSonics to accelerate the adoption of the Swiss model across the country, said Mr Dileep Chenoy, CEO and Managing Director, NSDC. However, while this model easily works in a small country like Switzerland, in India one needs to keep in mind issues of massive numbers and scalability, said Mr S. Mahalingam, CII Council on Skill Development and CFO, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

Source: The Hindu Business Line, February 22, 2012

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