A Critical Sociological Analysis of the Skills Development Initiative in India Completed

Area(s) of work: Education

Duration: April 2017 – December 2018

Status: Completed

Funder/ Partner: Azim Premji Foundation

Skills education and training have come to occupy a centre-stage within macroeconomic policy and educational frameworks of both the developed and developing worlds. In India also skill development programmes have grown at a rapid pace, ever since the recognition given to it as part of the country’s “Education Plan” within the Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-2012) of the Government of India (GoI) (King, 2012; Planning Commission, Government of India, 2008). Despite the urgency and massive investments made towards this, particularly by the current government, there are few studies that have critically examined its outcomes and effects.  It is against this context that in 2016 the Centre for Budget and Policy Studies (CBPS), Bangalore, with funding support from Azim Premji Foundation (APF), Bangalore, undertook a short-term ethnographic study of the skills policy and initiative in the country, to understand its social impacts and outcomes. However, the limited period and scope of the study did not allow the CBPS team to explore the landscape of skilling in more substantial ways, addressing the larger question of “What kinds of educational opportunities and avenues for social mobility do the new skills frameworks offer to youths from the poor and disadvantaged communities?” Thus, in order to complete the study initiated, and to provide a more substantive micro-sociological account of the skills landscape in the country, specifically, in order to address this overarching question, CBPS with funding support again from APF, is undertaking a longer, in depth, qualitative study that examines the following sub-questions from the perspectives of various actors on the field:

i) What forms of skills are students being trained for?

ii) How do the policy and programmes affect students and their families?

iii) Whether and how do the new skilling initiatives ensure a better fit between youth aspirations / needs and industry requirements?

iv) How do students benefit from the courses and what routes to future education / employment do they take after attending these skilling courses?