Union Minister for Education and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Dharmendra Pradhan, on October 25 launched the phase-II of Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship (MGNF), a two-year long fellowship conceived to create opportunity for young, dynamic individuals to contribute to enhancing skill development at the grassroots. Under the second phase 661 MGNFs will be deployed across all districts of the country.
Eight more IIMs have been on boarded taking the total to nine IIMs (IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM-Jammu, IIM Kozhikode, IIM Lucknow, IIM Nagpur, IIM Ranchi, IIM-Udaipur and IIM Visakhapatnam) to roll out this new phase. The two-year fellowship seeks to combine classroom sessions by academic partner IIMs with an intensive field immersion at the district level to create credible plans and identify barriers in raising employment, economic output, and promote livelihoods in rural areas. MGNF Phase-I (Pilot) was launched on Oct 2, 2019 with IIM Bangalore as Academic Partner and 69 are Fellows currently deployed in 69 districts across 6 States.
The MGNF program under Skill Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP), a World Bank loan assisted program of MSDE, was designed to provide a cadre of professionals at District level who not only know about governance and public policy in general but vocational education too. SANKALP engages with District Skill Committees (DSCs) to effectively reduce the mismatch between the supply and demand of skilled manpower in the country, thereby creating decent opportunities for the youth to work and earn.
MGNF is a unique blend of academic and work-based training handled at the IIM campus and the districts, respectively. The academic module familiarizes the Fellows with concepts from Management, Development Economics, Public Policy and the District Skills Ecosystem.
The minister while speaking during the launch event called upon fellows to act as catalysts of social change at the grassroots by driving skill development efforts. He also called upon district collectors and academic partner IIMs to facilitate the fellows and script a success story of change through this fellowship.
Speaking about the National Education Policy 2020, Pradhan outlined the vision to create strong convergence between education and skills and recent initiatives in this direction including the Academic Bank of Credit. He called upon the IIMs to make the fellows aware about the National Education Policy. In line with the requirements of 21st century and local realities, Pradhan called upon the fellows to work with global thinking and local approach including integrating local language in the skill development efforts.
Rajesh Aggarwal, Secretary, MSDE said that the initiative has helped in reviving the district skill committees’ work and fellows should look at stakeholders outside the government and specially rural areas to under the skills landscape. He also said that rural skilling areas including agriculture should be the next phase of focus to build skills in the country.