Digital Skills for a Digital India: NEP 2020 & The Workforce of Tomorrow
Drafted after a series of extensive consultations at the grassroots level, the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 has generated its fair share of debates & comments. This “new education policy for the 21st century” has been developed to keep India’s future talent pool relevant to the evolving industry demands.
In line with this, the policy has embraced a digital skills-first approach. There is ample focus on using innovative teaching methodologies like live online classes & MOOCs combined with encouragement for vocational training. However, the focus is on developing India’s digital skills bank to nurture a wide variety of career options.
A few steps taken towards this include:
- Introduction of coding classes in schools from as early as Class 6
- Flexibility to choose subjects across streams; all subjects to be offered at two levels of proficiency
- Thrust for globalization of the education sector with world-class institutes being facilitated to open campuses in India. This globalization initiative will interconnect methods of teaching from worldwide systems to encourage and promote contribution towards global industries.
It must be noted that while the reforms have been a long time coming, the policy by itself will not solve all issues on the ground. A lack of readily available new-age skills bank is chief among these issues.
The Need for a Digital Skills Bank
Shortage of talent in emerging fields like AI, ML, Blockchain, IoT, Cybersecurity & Data Analytics is spurring a rise in demand for relevant courses on platforms like Udemy, Coursera, and EdX.
But if all goes well with the implementation of NEP 2020, this might be a problem of the past.
According to NASSCOM, the talent demand-supply gap in AI and Big Data Analytics is expected to grow from ~62,000 to ~140,000 over the next 3 years.
The total fresh employable talent in India from Universities with relevant skills to work on new age technologies is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5% till 2021.
The focus is on designing a curriculum where skills needed for the future job markets are slowly built up over time from an early age.
Moreover, the policy also places emphasis on student proficiency analysis. This data will help the student and the educator to identify learning tracks best suited for both parties.
Fixing the Fragmented Pathway to In-Demand Skills
Currently, no formal classes exist to prepare a student to take up a career in AI, for example, in schools. But with the flexibility to pick and choose multiple subjects within a stream, the student can tailor their early education to align with their long-term career goals.
The learning path is also flexible enough to accommodate any change in career path as well. With the increased focus on vocational education akin to many European countries, students will also receive a well-rounded education. This will prepare them to carve out careers in job roles that are outside the purview of the digital ecosystem.
The availability of an Academic Bank of Credits means that students can safely transfer between institutions to better suit their learning needs.
Even in the public sector, governments are devising new online skills & training modules to meet the demands of industry 4.0.
Job roles are being broken down to their skills level and the focus is on imparting these skills to students from an early age.
Quenching the Thirst for Talent
NEP2020 has shown the education sector the right path for securing India’s future workforce. The talent ecosystem is going to change for good.
The need of the hour is an intelligent framework/tool to perform comprehensive skills analysis for careers. Every job role, be it technical or vocational, needs to be broken down to its constituent skills level. The next step is to identify the relevant courses and modules required to achieve these skills.
This natural breakdown of Career>Role>Skills>Courses charts an easy–to–follow roadmap for stakeholders to meet the skill needs of tomorrow’s workforce.
For enterprises as well, such a framework will help them build custom courses for their employees to reskill/upskill quicker. Draup’s Talent Intelligence platform comes enabled with this approach.
Draup for Talent has analyzed thousands of job roles and broken them down to their skills level for building viable career paths. Using this data, Learning & Development teams are empowered with actionable insights to create comprehensive internal learning curricula.