Monthly Archives: March 2015

International Women’s day: Does it make a real difference to women’s lives?

We have been celebrating International Women’s Day for more than a century. Back in 1909 it was all about fighting for the rights for working women. It has over the years broadened to include all women.

Of course, as a woman, it feels good to have a day dedicated to us, but is it enough? In an ideal world, surely, we wouldn’t need to have this one day set aside every year? Women’s rights and their contribution to society would be understood and appreciated every day of the year.

The reality is that for almost half the population of the world every day is a constant struggle. In many countries women still don’t have even basic rights. They don’t have the right to vote or to education. At an even more basic level, they are not safe in the streets, or even at home. Their own bodies are not their own. Even in the most developed countries the battle for equal wages and equal rights in the workplace goes on.

In a world like this, simply setting aside a day to “celebrate” women seems like tokenism to me. We have to create a future where we don’t need women’s day anymore because we are all equally empowered.

Till then, a woman can dream….

What do you think?

Post by - Mahananda Bohidar

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India and the UK are ideal partners for employment skills and English language collaboration

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Anil Subramanian was in London the week of 19 January as part of a high-level delegation from India that took part in the second UK-India English Partnerships Forum and study tour to several UK institutions. He shares his thoughts and take-aways from the week.

India is going through interesting times. It has the world’s largest young population and yet employers are constantly searching for the ‘right talent’. India is expected to add over 100 million young adults ready and waiting for work in the next 15 years. Further, due to technology infusion, most of the job requirement has changed vastly in favour of skilled personnel. With a view to enable India to utilize its resources optimally, the Government of India has launched five important initiatives, all of equal importance:

  1. Clean India
  2. Digital India
  3. Make in India
  4. Housing for all
  5. Skill India

Sustained success of the first four initiatives hinges significantly on the availability of quality manpower. The answer therefore lies in skilling the youth in India. As is well known, there is a large rural population waiting for skills training for either increasing agricultural productivity or to enable them to join as productive workforce in the manufacturing and service sectors. The latter not only requires quality technical skilling but also English language skills. The government’s DDU-GKY skill development programme recognizes this and has made English skill a mandatory part of its training.

Against this backdrop, the focus of UK-India English Partnerships Forum in London on 20 January this year was on English Skills for Employability, especially as part of skill training outside formal education. The Indian delegation consisted of State Government Ministers, Government officials representing the Centre and States, skills agencies, assessment bodies and Sector Skills Councils from India. The Indian delegation got an opportunity to interact and share views with their counterparts in the UK. Several key discussions revolved around identification of academic, strategic and commercial opportunities in English skills in vocational training.

The Forum also paved the way for scoping possibilities of creating opportunities for using UK’s experience in enhancing the quality of skills training in India. One of the key areas for partnerships includes assessment and certification for employable skills which may require international certification. The possibility of Training Partners from the UK getting involved in skills development in India for the global market came as an idea whose time has come and the relationships the Indian delegation established in the UK now need to be nurtured diligently.

UK-India English Partnerships Forum could not have come at a better time.

Anil Subramanian is Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Rural Development. He currently handles subjects related to policy, planning and operations in implementation of DDU-GKY, a placement -linked skills development programme for rural youth in India.

Mr Subramanian has a background in the humanities. He has been working with Government of India for the past 18 years. During this tenure he has also handled portfolios in public service selection, environment and forest regulations, information broadcasting policy and mining regulations.

To find out more about the DDU-GKY programme click here

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