July 15 will be celebrated across the world as World Youth Skills Day. As the United Nations website notes, globally, one in five young people are NEET: Not in Employment, Education or Training. Of these, three out of four are women. And with the world battling the COVID-19 pandemic, and consequent shutdowns, this situation is only likely to have gotten worse.
Against this backdrop the Indian government has sounded a clarion call for self reliance or Aatma Nirbhar Bharat. With the support system for Indian entrepreneurs and innovators growing constantly, we took a look at the resources made available by the government. And while it is true that many of the things that will be mentioned in this article are not age-specific per se, they could definitely give an edge to younger people looking to advance their careers, or simply expand their horizons.
Keeping the COVID-19 pandemic in mind, most of these are of a virtual nature.
1. Online academic classes
The government has put in place many schemes to help people learn new things. And for a nominal fee, you can also get a certificate for whatever you learn. Of course, there are some limitations, but the range of courses is rather impressive if one heads to the government's SWAYAM website. As per the site, there are at present more than 500 courses that you can enroll in, including those in regional languages.
Want to catch up on some reading amid the pandemic break? The government has something called the National Digital Library of India which offers "Educational materials "from Primary to Postgraduate levels". As the website puts it, "All types of resources, such as Books, Audio Books/Lectures, Video lectures, Lecture Presentations/Notes, Simulations, Question Papers, Solutions, etc. are available".
3. Skill development
With the pandemic still active in India, all Training Centres of the National Skill Development Corporation are currently closed. However, that does not mean that you cannot take the online route for the moment to learn new skills. Their e-skills website,had tutorials and instructions for courses ranging from "computer hardware repair" and "basic electrical training" to "beautician" and "impression management". The e-learning aggregator platform consolidates B2C e-learning portals operating over the internet in the skilling ecosystem. Many of these courses are free, while others have a nominal fee involved.
4. The Skill Loan Scheme
While not exactly a COVID-19 friendly initiative, the government has launched something called a Skill Loan Scheme as part of it's Skill India initiative. This, as the State Bank of India puts it, is a term loan granted to Indian Nationals for pursuing Skill development courses in India. Loans up to Rs 1,50,000 can be taken under this, and can be utilised to pay tuition fees, exam, laboratory and library fees, the cost incurred for purchase of books and more.
5. ITI Students and Trainers Learning Portal - learning a trade
This is somewhat similar to the skill development website we mentioned earlier. Bharat Skills is a website set up by the government to help people learn a trade. As the website puts it, it is a "a Central Repository for skills which provide NSQF curriculum, course material, videos, question banks and mock test etc". The courses cover a wide range of jobs, and now, the website even offers online courses for 79 of these trades.