The Union Cabinet has approved the merger of the existing regulatory institutions in the skills space – National Council for Vocational Training (NCVT) and the National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) into the National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET).
NCVET will regulate the functioning of entities engaged in vocational education and training, both long-term and short-term and establish minimum standards for the functioning of such entities. The primary functions of NCVET will include –
- recognition and regulation of awarding bodies, assessment bodies and skill related information providers;
- approval of qualifications developed by awarding bodies and Sector Skill Councils (SSCs);
- indirect regulation of vocational training institutes through awarding bodies and assessment agencies;
- research and information dissemination;
- grievance redressal.
The Council would be headed by a Chairperson and will have Executive and Non-Executive Members. Since NCVET is proposed to be set up through merger of two existing bodies, the existing infrastructure and resources will be utilized for the most part. In addition, a few more posts will be created for its smooth functioning. The regulator will follow the best practices of regulatory processes, which will help ensure that it performs its functions professionally and as per the applicable laws.
This institutional reform will lead to improvement in quality and market relevance of skill development programs lending credibility to vocational education and training encouraging greater private investment and employer participation in the skills space. This in turn will help achieve the twin objectives of enhancing aspirational value of vocational education and of increasing skilled manpower furthering the Prime Minister’s agenda of making India the skill capital of the world.
Being a regulator of India’s skill ecosystem, NCVET will have a positive impact on each individual who is a part of vocational education and training in the country. The idea of skill-based education will be seen in a more inspirational manner which would further encourage students to apply for skill-based educational courses. This is also expected to facilitate the ease of doing business by providing a steady supply of skilled workforce to the industry and services.
In an effort to realize India’s demographic dividend, its workforce needs to be equipped with employable skills and knowledge so that they can contribute to economic growth in a substantive manner. In the past, most of the country’s skill training needs were met through courses offered by the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and under the Modular Employable Scheme (MES), regulated by NCVT. Since this infrastructure was not enough to meet the increasing skill requirements of the country as well as the skilling needs of the growing workforce, the Government took a number of initiatives to scale up the skilling efforts. These efforts resulted in a large expansion of training infrastructure much of which is in the private sector. At present, there are 20 Ministries/ Departments implementing skill development programs mostly using private sector training providers.
However, in the absence of adequate regulatory oversight, numerous stakeholders have been offering training programs of varying standards with multiplicity in assessment and certification systems which are not comparable, with serious consequences for the vocational training system and thus the employability of the country’s youth. An attempt towards some measure of regulation was made with the establishment of the National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) in 2013, to coordinate and harmonize the skill development efforts of the government and the private sector. The primary role of NSDA has been to anchor and operationalize the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) to ensure that quality and standards meet sector specific requirements.
However, a need was felt for an overarching regulatory authority which could tend to all aspects of short-term and long-term skill-based training. In view of this, NCVET is envisaged as an institution which will perform the regulatory functions so far vested in NCVT and NSDA. Regulatory functions currently being carried out by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) through the Sector Skill Councils (SSCs) will also be housed in the NCVET.