Saturday, December 19, 2015

SEEK 15 and the SEEK model of conclave design

Skill Enterprise Engagement for Empowering Kerala (SEEK) is emerging as a very important biannual conclave of all stakeholders related to the  skill development ecosystem with its first successful conduct in 2013 and now the second instance on 16th and 17th of December 2015.

The principal organizer of the event is the Additional Skill Acquisition Programme (ASAP), a joint skill development initiative of Higher and General Education Departments, Government of Kerala in India. The objective of the ASAP is to provide additional skill training to the students studying at Higher Secondary Schools and the Arts and Science colleges to enhance their employment opportunities as well as their confidence and initiative to become successful individuals and responsible citizens.

In 2013 National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) was the conclave partner. For SEEK 15, Asian Development Bank (ADB) was the partner.

While SEEK13  chiefly focused on unveiling the skill development opportunities in Kerala and to bring Training Service Providers, Industry Associations, Industries including PSUs to work from Kerala in the skill development domain, SEEK 15 focused on triggering very serious discussions on the existing gaps in the policies, strategies and standards with respect to skill development nationwide. It also looked at alternative models to make skill development sustainable by linking the whole process to lifelong learning.

The discussions in the event became damn serious while keeping the whole atmosphere vibrant and creative with the very enthusiastic participation of major industry and government leaders and other experts from all over India and abroad. SEEK15 also became notable by introducing a new design for the conduct of a major conclave. In a nutshell, the design can be explained as closed door panel discussions and plenary presentations and debates. In effect it turned out to be an ideal parliamentary model where in subject committees (here expert panels) examine crucial matters and their reports are debated on the floor of the parliament (here the plenary hall) and approved. The ASAP Core Team and the technical support team of Asian Development Bank (ADB) worked collaboratively in the conclave design process as a single team. Many shared the view that SEEK model of conclave has to be nationally adopted for the conduct of conclaves to ensure outputs and outcomes of higher quality.

Under eleven themes 24 crucial topics were discussed by separate panels of experts. Each panel had an average of 8 members. The total number of panelists was around 190. Apart from that, further 240 experts all over India stationed in the plenary hall for debate during the two days of the event. Though the participants were offered all the flexibility to come in and come out of the plenary hall as they wished, the hall was full for all plenary debates, which indicated the importance of the topics as well as the serious involvement of the delegates. Perhaps, the greatest volume of take home was for the plenary hall delegates, as they were engaging in debates in a logically coherent sequence of topics. Following were the themes of SEEK15
  1. Inclusive approach, Innovative options and International Visibility of skill development
  2. Curriculum Standardisation: Towards ensuring minimum threshold skill attainment; Institutional responsility for curriculum standardisation and revisions (enhanced market responsiveness); Complexities and solutions in enabling skilling for multiple job-roles
  3. Lifelong Learning & Learning Pathways: Approach to Lifelong Learning; National Framework Vs Localized approach to Lifelong Learning; Developing a learning culture & a flexible and self-learning environment.
  4. Developing the Trainer Ecosystem: Making Trainer Job-role as Aspirational; Framework for
    Training of Trainers
  5. Quality Framework for Skilling in India: A holistic approach to Quality Assurance, Quality Grading of TSPs, and Ensuring Quality Trainers
  6. Making Skilling & Employment Aspirational: Matching, Mentoring, Moulding and Monitoring
  7. Mainstreaming Skilling Interventions: University Integration beyond Community College initiatives; Vocationalisation of School Education - integration under RMSA
  8. National Assessment Framework: A common national framework - need and design; Ensuring Quality of Assessors; A common Internationally-valid Certification Standard
  9. Demand-based Skilling: Methodological Challenges and Geographical Dynamics; Targeted skilling for assured employment; Securing Traditional Industry Vs Enabling
  10. Multi-Skill Development Centres: Sustainable Revenue Models; Operations & Governance Framework; and Community Engagement
  11. Entrepreneurial Development: Approach to MSME Development, Women Enterprise Development, and Strategies for Incubation and Financial Access

Yet another major event happened within SEEK15 was the ‘Vikas Conclave’ – the first annual meeting of the Chairpersons and members of the business advisory committees formed to ensure the industry alignment of skill courses under ASAP. ASAP has business advisory committees for skill development in major industry sectors with senior level membership from the leading industries. The ‘Vikas Conclave’ also discussed policy and operational issues in five separate groups and documented it for implementation.

The SEEK Model of Conclave design is not limited to the broad design alone. It also consists of participatory approach to event management. ASAP has around 190 young professionals who work across the state as Programme Managers. Forty of them were entrusted with the design and implementation of each minute aspect of the event under broad categories. Each group of Programme Managers was a mix of those who were part of the organizing team of SEEK13 and those who were not there. This approach ensured a comprehensive picture of the event management in the minds of everyone in the organizing team and it in turn contributed to the successful conduct of the event. Moreover, as they are the practitioners in the thematic areas of the conclave, they could ensure each element of the event is aligned to the objectives of the conclave.  In short, SEEK15 (as well as SEEK 13) had a completely in-house event management with superb professionalism.

The documentations on the deliberations will be shortly available at

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