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Call to focus on skills development Print E-mail
Written by Anand   
Thursday, 16 October 2008
New Delhi: Skills development is an area that needs to get priority focus and there are opportunities to exchange and learn from each other's experiences in the three emerging economies. This was the overriding thought at the business session here today on 'Developing skills to build capacity for furthering growth', a part of the ongoing two-day 3rd IBSA Summit 2008. The session presented initiatives undertaken by IBSA member countries in the field of skills development.

The two-day summit is being jointly organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) and Brazil's National Confederation of Industry (CNI) and supported by the Governments of South Africa, Brazil and India.

Mr P Rajendran, Operating Officer of NIIT Ltd chaired the proceedings and gave an overview of the scenario on skills development prevalent in India. "India's population has become a great asset today and the largest percentage is young," he said. "According to estimates, by 2020 India will have a surplus of 47 million people who will be ready to service the shortage which will be roughly the same in the rest of world then," Mr Rajendran said. In this context, their level of skills will be very important, he said.

Talking about the challenges that India faces in this field, Mr Rajendran said that "vocational training is still not seen as the most respectable thing to do after XIIth standard." But, he added, the emergence of the services sector in a big way calls for priority being given to vocational training. The creation of Skills Development Corporation is a step in the right direction as "we need to create employable people and not just educated people", Mr Rajendran said.

How this was done in Brazil was illustrated by Mr Ricardo Rezende, Secretary of the National Board of National Service of Industrial Apprenticeship (SENAI) of Brazil. "SENAI," he said, "services the industry sector in Brazil and though created by the government, it is run by the industry and is a non-profit organization." The success of SENAI was, Mr Rezende pointed out, was mainly due to this reason. "SENAI provides training and technology to help industry by training people for jobs or showing ways of creating self-generating opportunities," he said.

The South African perspective was given by Mr Dupree Vilakazi, Chief Executive Officer of Isidleke Holdings. "Large illiterate population is the biggest challenege before South Africa," he said adding that skills development thus becomes very important. South African government has enacted a National Skills Development Act, he informed that will ensure development of skills of the workforce and quality of education, etc. A National Training Board (NTB) has been established, he said, that has been tasked to develop national training strategy.

The session ended with the speakers calling for learning from each other's experiences and find avenues to cooperate with each other.

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