Huge challenge for Skill India: just 5% study technical or professional courses

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Huge challenge for Skill India: just 5% study technical or professional courses

If you thought that engineering and management were the two hottest educational pursuits for Indians, think again. According to a recent National Sample Survey Organisation report, only 5% of students in the country are engaged in technical or professional education, or studying subjects like engineering and management.

The rest are in general education, like humanities (B.A., M.A. etc), commerce (B.Com. etc) and science (B.Sc. etc).

At a time when the Narendra Modi government is pushing for 'Skill India', this data presents a big challenge.

The survey was conducted between January-June 2014, and covered around 4,577 villages. It excluded "art, music and similar type of courses conducted by individuals in their houses or unrecognised/unaffiliated institutions, classes taken by private tutors, education in nursery/kindergarten/preparatory levels".

Here are some of the key figures to emerge from the survey:



  • The share of students in the realm of higher education, who are studying knowledge-driven courses like humanities, science and commerce.
  • Only 5% study skill-driven, professional/technical courses, which makes strong economic and employment growth difficult to attain.
  • There are two main challenges in front of skill education. First, access (most of these institutes are located in southern India) and quality, poor infrastructure and sub-standard curriculum; and second, lack of industry and job links.

Also read: Rs 1,700 cr for Skill India in #UnionBudget2016. Plenty of challenges remain



  • About one in three males (aged between 5-29 years) in urban areas stop studying because of the need to earn.
  • However, in rural areas, only 30% of males drop out for this reason.
  • For females in this age group, one in three (or 33%) in rural areas and 23% in urban areas drop out due to domestic work.

Also read: Higher education in the doldrums. Here are some of the challenges the Modi government faces



  • The annual cost per student in a government institution at the primary level.
  • This means less than Rs 92 per month to get your children educated at a government school.
  • In comparison, it takes Rs 10,623 per annum at private, unaided institutions in India - or Rs 885 per month.

  • It costs almost 10 times more to get a child educated at a private school at the primary level.
  • At the upper primary level, the annual cost for government education is Rs 1,869 and Rs 13,808 for private education.

  • At the secondary level, it is Rs 3,724 for government schools and Rs 15,875 in private schools per annum.

Also read: Universities wasting taxpayers' money? No, India is actually improving



  • Share of rural persons in the age group 15 and above who are illiterate.
  • Only 4% of the rural population are graduates or more.
  • In urban areas, only 16% are illiterate, and 18% are graduates or more.

Also read: 6 Budget takeaways for education



  • Share of students at the primary and upper primary levels who are receiving free education in India.
  • Of this, 70% belong to rural areas and 30% are from urban areas.
  • At the secondary and higher secondary levels, 40% students from rural areas get free education, while only 22% do so in urban areas.

  • However, there is a major gap between government and private education. For instance, at primary-level government institutions in rural areas, 94% students get free education. The share is 89% in urban areas.
  • In contrast, only about 1-2% of students in private institutions receive free education at primary and upper primary levels.

Also read: Skill India: Is Rs 1,500 crore enough to train 40 crore Indians?



  • Proportion of students who receive mid-day meals at primary and upper primary levels in India.
  • This means more than one-third of students in India are deprived of nutrition.
  • Funds for the Mid-Day Meal Scheme, which provides cooked meals to nearly 10 crore children in more than 11 lakh schools annually, was also reduced by 30% in 2015.

  • About 45% of all students in government schools do not receive free text books.
More in Catch:

Skill India: why it won't create a nation of trained workers

Skill Dil: Modi's job portal makes a pitch for palmists, astrologers & moneylenders

Sourjya  Bhowmick

Sourjya Bhowmick @sourjyabhowmick