What NOS and QPs mean in education space ?

Most of us working in corporates are aware  that  college students joining the job today are not employable and there exists a  gap. Students and college universities have questioned and asked the corporates to specify their needs in terms of job positions, so that they can develop required course-ware to handle needs of the job. They  want to know what qualification is required  to perform a specific job position in a particular industry sector.

The industry under the leadership of NSDC has started defining the National Occupation Standards for job positions. NOS  is the standard of performance that needs to be achieved as part of working in a job in the work place in an individual. It also expects that the individual knowledge and understanding meet the standard consistently.

NSDC wants Sector Skill Councils(SSC) to represent each sector. Sector Skill Council represents the companies that work in the particular industry sector and they come together to define occupation standards for job positions in their sector. SSC have the objective to complement the existing vocational education system  in meeting the entire value chain’s requirements. They bring the industry, employees and academia together.

A set of NOS, aligned to a job role, called Qualification Pack. While NOS is more definition from the corporate side, Qualification Pack(QP) is to drive the creation of curriculum, and assessments. By defining NOS for all the entry level positions, the  industry wants to drive competency based training for every job role in industry. All the current vocational courses need to be aligned to job roles.

There are Sector Skill council for different sectors like Gems and Jewellery, BFSI and IT/ITES. You can view all Sector Skill Councils in this web page. Drilling in to IT/ITES sector,  there are  four sub-sectors and for each of the sub-sector, job roles are defined at the Entry, Middle and Leadership Level, respectively.

  • IT Services (ITS)
  • Business Process Management (BPM)
  • Engineering and R&D (ER&D)
  • Software Products (SPD)

If you are a faculty with university or training organization, please get aware of the new guidelines and be geared to up-grade the course-ware to map with QP.  If you are a corporate recruiter, please upgrade the job profiles to also include NOS for the job position and a good way to get attention of the people working in industry to validate the NOS in practical sense and also collect inputs for improvements and upgrades to QPs and NOS.

  1. What is the way to communicate already defined NOS and QPs to all stakeholders? The employers are part of sector Skill council and the academia may be engaged by the industry. Who represent student’s aspirations in the formulations of QP and NOS?
  2. Where are the sufficient number of competent people to help to arrive at course-ware to satisfy the defined QPs and also map aspiration of students at different learning maturity, rural and urban students? Will the academia have bandwidth to upgrade course-ware on frequent basis?
  3. Who is responsible for assessments to validate the maturity level of the student after undergoing training for a specific job position? Can the training provider be also the judge as assessment provider?. is the same set of persons running industry in sector, also run a training company and assessment company as three separate legal entities?
  4. For people who already are working in a job position, how to evaluate the existing skills and match their maturity to a same job position or higher or lower. Will the person would agree to the evaluation as fair? Will there be cry of unfairness?
  5. This question is more suited to the IT/ITES industry. as it continues to evolve at a faster rate and training providers are not able to keep pace with industry. some times there is hype in demand of job position and then the demand dies in short period. How to make sure that what affects stakeholders are based on long term requirements of the industry and not short term?
  6. Who would handle the coordination and collaboration needed between industry, training provider and assessment provider?

Some open questions

  • Would too much standardization in job roles hinder innovation? Would the  learners be forced to think in a particular way.
  • interesting observation is that  there is no sector skill council for education and neither for art, music and dance.  What about subjects like my major mathematics that are applied in different sectors? Will this skew students towards industry needs and people exploring arts , music and dance die down?
  • Will advertisement of NOS and QPs make parents to start driving children in approach similar to pushing them for becoming  doctors and engineers?

I wish  the objective of our efforts would lead to change  the education systems  focused to produce clerks and coolies as in British era.