Rubaru 2017-18 brought industry leaders on one platform to initiate, encourage and impact the development sector to progress towards a empowered rural India.
Following were the key takeaways of the panel discussion, focused on:
Enablers and Barriers in Nurturing Future Talent from Rural India
1. Jacob Ninan, Executive Trustee and CEO, Axis Bank Foundation
2. Ruby Chhabra, VP – Consulting & Transformation, LTI
3. Shalini Pillay, Office Managing Partner and Head of People, performance & culture, KPMG
4. K. Raghavendra, Global head of HRD, Infosys BPO
5. V. Ramkumar (moderator), Trustee & Board member, eVidyaloka Trust
1. The context and need of rural-urban engagement is significant. We have about 200 million young Indians from rural parts of the country who would come into mainstream workforce in the next 5-10 years. Unless they are educated and adequately skilled and made eligible to participate in the growth of the economy, we would have:
a) 200 million people who’s welfare would be a responsibility of the state, and can be a serious economic challenge if not brought into mainstreamb) A serious employment paradox: growing need for workforce but a huge pool of unskilled workforce, and the risk of a section of this workforce going wayward. Even a 1% of this population would be 2 million – quite a large number to deal with. It’s a serious risk to be dealt with urgently.
2. The most critical enablers for driving this growth that need to be nurtured were discussed at length. The key ones being:
a) Driving a high degree of consciousness for education. This also means driving adult / parent education and promoting the benefits of learningb) Active engagement with the Government to drive a policy level change that helps with a conducive environment of promoting voluntary teaching.c) Building a strong culture of corporate engagement to promote volunteerism. This would allow for addressing the 1.2 million teacher shortage and scale. Also develop a higher awareness amongst people who take career-breaks to adopt volunteer-teaching as an active avenue of social contribution.
3. The panel discussed about the key barriers that need to be urgently addressed:
a) Language / communication. A key challenge of employability still remains the need for English as a language skill. Promoting this as part of the rural education is key, At the same time, enhancing other skills that have domestic employability is also important to minimize migration.b) Ability to work remotely with rural workforce: while this may be perceived as a challenge, the reality is that it deserves to be attempted with seriousness. The NSIC program of eVidyaloka was an example of how children from urban and rural schools have worked together in short span of time to deliver project work in a remote but collaborative manner.c) Resources: Helping rural households to drive be able to promote self-help, facilitated by rural / micro lending will be key. This, coupled with education that allows them to be better skilled in continuing with traditional village based occupations (e.g Agriculture) and also with potential new opportunities (e.g Rural BPO) would both be critical.
4. The key here is to have corporate India actively participate in this uplift of future citizens in a formalized manner, with a rural-urban connect cause:
a) Active engagement with social initiatives that have a strong rural connect and education / skilling to build a sustainable legacy. Promote culture of engagement across the organization, not just by the CSR function or selective individuals. b) More importantly, driving CSR Policies that promote one or more of these three: rural engagement – quality education – technology enabled social programs