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In a Country where Employment is Struggle, Jharkhand Tribal School Dropouts train for Overseas Jobs

Teachers and students live on the campus which also has a huge vegetable garden maintained by trainees

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School children, (representational Image). Wikimedia

Bundu (Jharkhand), May 28, 2017: In a country where millions of degree holders struggle for employment, Dayanidhi Pradhan, 23, a Class 8 dropout in Jharkhand, dreams of an overseas job.

And achieving that aspiration is a real possibility — thanks to a multi-trade skill development institute that has placed hundreds of tribal youths in foreign countries.

Pradhan and over 100 others are currently enrolled for short-term skill training in various trades like electric fitting, plumbing, AC ductman and pipe fitting at the Kalyan Gurukul, housed in a sprawling green campus in this town, some 40 km from Ranchi.

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“Gurukul in Bundu has a history of placing almost all of its students abroad,” Pradhan told IANS, remembering how his peers — Boodhu Munda, Gopal Munda and Shahnawaz Bhai, who were also skilled at the institute — are now working in the Gulf.

Most of the tribal youth working in the Gulf had not even visited Ranchi, the state capital, he said.

Kalyan Gurukul is run by PanIIT Alumni Reach for India Foundation (PARFI), sponsored by the state government and the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) of the government of India.

The institute began operations in October 2013 with a batch of 19 with the aim of training tribal youth as well as those from other economically-backward sections of society who had dropped out of schools. The government has opened 10 similar training centres across the state.

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All these institutes — that are much like ITIs — are called “Gurukul”, replicating not only the name but also a strict regime of discipline and time management of ancient Indian schools.

Teachers and students live on the campus which also has a huge vegetable garden maintained by trainees.

Every morning starts with yoga, meditation, prayers and a healthy breakfast before classes begin.

The Bundu centre is headed by ex-servicemen Pramod Kumar Pandey, who said “patriotic values” coupled with life skills, including financial and credit literacy, are part of the training programme.

“Students enrolled in Gurukul have to pay a basic fee of Rs 18,000 provided through a loan financing scheme with NABARD. Repayment starts once the student gets a placement,” Pandey told IANS.

Many of Gurukul students now work in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar, he said.

“We hone skills of the students according to the contemporary needs of the market. Since inception, we have placed around 276 students in Dubai, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka. The latest batch of around 104 students have also been selected by recruiters and are waiting to go to various Gulf countries.”

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 Gangadhar Munda’s brother Boodhu Munda — a Gurukul alumnus — works in Dubai.

The tribesman from Hesu said the “entire village”, in Hesu hills, was proud of his brother who went abroad “and secured a good future despite belonging to a poor family and being a school dropout”.

“Boodhu went to Dubai around seven months ago. He sends us money every month. Our financial status is getting better now and we are be able to educate other children in the family,” Gangadhar told IANS.

“We are getting good marriage proposals for Boodhu,” Gangadhar quipped.

Tarun Shukla, an IIT alumnus and a member of PARFI, said the first Gurukul was opened at Gumla in Jharkhand in 2010 to involve unemployed youth, who were potential recruits for Maoists.

“The infrastructure and other support for Gurukul are given by the government while its operation and maintenance are done through PARFI. We have a tie-up with business conglomerate Shapoorji Pallonji Group to place students in the Gulf countries,” Shukla told IANS.

He said more focus was now being given on skill development with the help of a separate Ministry for Skill Development and NSDC.

“NSDC plays a significant role in the functioning of Gurukul as it standardises the course curriculum. Secondly, with NSDC, one can now find employers, trainers, content developers and job-seekers on one platform,” he said.

Jharkhand Chief Secretary Rajbala Verma said the Gurukul model was providing the platform of better employability for under-privileged and under-educated youth of the state.

“In the next two years, we are planning to expand these Gurukul centres in all the 24 Jharkhand districts with a training capacity of 10,000 youth,” Verma told IANS.

She said generating employment was a huge priority of the state government.

“Labour-intensive industries like food processing, leather and textiles are our main focus; we will use the Jharkhand Skill Development Mission and Gurukul model to create youth who are pre-trained before employment,” she said. (IANS)

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Reducing Gender Inequalities in Education Sector Would Better Outcomes in Future

As for improvements on other fronts, the water and sanitation sector, for instance, faces a significant shortage of qualified professionals. While the importance of involving both men and women in management of water and sanitation facilities has for long been recognised globally, mostly men are still seen as the primary decision makers.

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Another sector where the share of professionals possessing AI skills is high is education, accounting for about 19 per cent of the total workforce - of which women account for just one-third of the male talent pool. However, education is also one of the few sectors where the number of women working are greater than the men. Pixabay

The benefits of diversity in the workforce are known to give companies a competitive edge and this, in turn, enables higher growth. A 2018 McKinsey & Company Report, “Delivering through Diversity”, found out that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 21 per cent more likely to experience financial returns above their national industry means than the companies in the fourth quartile.

While the research findings point towards positive correlation between financial performance and greater inclusion of women in leadership roles, it is essential to address the issue of gender disparity in education as this sector helps in developing professional capacities in both men and women.

As the world moves closer to covering the gender gap in education, with only 5 per cent of the gap remaining, one of the issues which mask under gender parity in education is the lower participation of both men and women which is preventing the world from fully utilising the human capital.

The Global Gender Gap Report, 2018 (WEF, 2018) points out that globally, there were on average 65 per cent girls and 66 per cent boys who were enrolled in secondary education and only about 39 per cent girls and 34 per cent boys who were participating in tertiary education. Thus, the gender gaps cannot be completely closed until the participation increases in education at all levels.

Further, to the issue of the lower overall participation, particularly in the tertiary sector, is the fact that although there are more females graduating than males globally, when it comes to the skills for the lucrative jobs, women tend to lag behind men.

education
While the research findings point towards positive correlation between financial performance and greater inclusion of women in leadership roles, it is essential to address the issue of gender disparity in education as this sector helps in developing professional capacities in both men and women. Pixabay

According to the Global Education Monitoring Report Gender Review (UNESCO, 2018), in countries such as Chile, Ghana and Switzerland, women account for less than one-quarter of all STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) degrees. Among the South Asian countries, India has about 42 per cent tertiary graduate females pursuing a STEM programme, which is much higher than many developed countries. The only few countries where the majority of STEM graduates are females are Algeria, Tunisia and Albania.

In the era of the 4th Industrial Revolution, when the in-demand skills in the job market include Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, these gender gaps in STEM studies, if left unchecked, will broaden gender disparities across the industries. Currently, there is a significant gender gap among the AI professionals, with only about 22 per cent of them being female and 78 per cent being male. Regional analysis across the globe reveals that the top three countries where AI talent is the most prominent are United States, India and Germany – along with a significant gender gap in AI skills biased against women (WEF, 2018).

Industry-level workforce data for the gender gap indicates that the top three sectors where the proportion of men is much greater than women are manufacturing, energy and mining sector and software and IT services. Out of these, the third sector employs about 40 per cent of the AI professionals in total workforce, with women accounting for just 7.4 per cent of the AI talent pool. The other two sectors have a very low percentage of AI-skilled workforce.

Another sector where the share of professionals possessing AI skills is high is education, accounting for about 19 per cent of the total workforce – of which women account for just one-third of the male talent pool. However, education is also one of the few sectors where the number of women working are greater than the men.

If the current trend of male domination in STEM disciplines at the college level or in acquiring emerging skills at the workplace continues unabated, it can lead to wider gender disparities across industries due to the rising demand for the AI skills, irrespective of being a traditionally male or a traditionally female oriented sector.

Efforts towards achieving gender parity in education beyond enrolments, to take account of equality in choosing skills which are a gateway to employment opportunities, will help in creating a gender-equal workforce in the future and greater financial gains.

AI
Wider gender disparities across industries due to the rising demand for the AI skills, irrespective of being a traditionally male or a traditionally female oriented sector. Pixabay

Addressing the gender disparity issue in education not just results in financial improvements for businesses, and greater growth, but also helps in achieving better development outcomes.

For instance, in the health sector, there is a global shortage of 17.4 million healthcare workers, including 2.6 million doctors, 9 million nurses and midwives (WHO, 2016). While women form the majority of the sector’s workforce, they are primarily clustered in the lower-level positions, with senior positions being held by men.

Efforts to attract more males to nursing courses and elevating the status of care related work can help to break the feminisation of the nursing profession and address the shortage of workforce to some extent. For women to move up to senior positions amidst the rapidly digitising technology, efforts towards reskilling them can close the gender gaps in senior positions.

Also Read: To Provide Internet Connectivity in Areas With Inadequate Infrastructure, Facebook Project Uses Drones

As for improvements on other fronts, the water and sanitation sector, for instance, faces a significant shortage of qualified professionals. While the importance of involving both men and women in management of water and sanitation facilities has for long been recognised globally, mostly men are still seen as the primary decision makers.

Thus, alleviating gender inequalities in education can bring out more qualified female professionals in the decision-making roles. (IANS)