National Skill Development Agency
Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship
Government of India

Need for National Occupational Standards (NOS) based certification in India


The National Skill Qualifications Framework (NSQF) is anchored by National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) under the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India and implemented through National Skills Qualifications Committee (NSQC). NSQC approves the qualifications submitted by various awarding bodies ensuring that the approved qualifications are as per the demand of the industry.

In the process of NSQF approval of qualifications, several requests have been received by NSDA periodically from states, training institutions within other Central Ministries implementing skill development schemes for adoption of NSQF approved QPs/NOS. One of the main reasoning behind this is that any implementing agency would like to retain its certification and assessment rights at the same time would like to comply by NSQF notification.

This gives rise to the concept of flexibility in adoption of NOS / QPs as one prospective solution to the above situation. This would also help in avoiding duplication of qualifications in the national qualifications register. National Qualifications Register (NQR) is the repository of all approved qualifications. Presently, the skilling ecosystem is facing an issue of duplication of similar qualifications just because one awarding body does not want to give away its established brand of assessment and certification.

What is a National Occupational Standard (NOS)?

“National Occupational Standard (NOS) defines the measurable performance outcomes required from an individual engaged in a particular task. They list down what an individual performing that task should know and also do. These standards can form the benchmarks for various education and training programs and recruitment range of HRM practices. Just as each job role may require the performance of a number of tasks, the combination of all the NOSs corresponding to these tasks would form the Qualification Pack (QP) for that job role. The NOSs and QP for each job role corresponding to each level of the NSQF are being formulated by the concerned Sector Skill Councils (SSCs).

Further, NSQF notifications states that in the event of there being no SSC for a given sector, or inability on the part of the SSC to produce the NOSs/QPs in a timely manner, this responsibility may be assigned by the National Skills Qualifications Committee (NSQC) to a relevant regulatory body or other entity having experience and knowledge of the sector.”

As several states and central ministries are seeking to adopt the QPs (entire bundle or rebundling) while retaining their existing assessment and certification processes. There is a need for a robust mechanism to be decided for sharing of assessment and certification rights of an awarding body under which a particular qualification falls. In the current system, awarding bodies are not free to exchange their qualifications in full or in part. This is due to the fact that there has a strong link with accreditation and certification rights given to particular submitting body. This is restricting one awarding body to adopt qualification or training program of another awarding body.

In the proposed model, one awarding body would be free to adopt NSQF aligned qualification of any other awarding body. The model advocates the unbundling of QPs in its NOSs so that any awarding body or training provider can picks up approved NOSs and bundles them up in the form of a QP as per the need of its target audience and can impart training on that QP.

Advantages of NOS based certification

NOSs are developed breaking down the job into main function which may or may not be common across jobs in other sectors too. It has been observed that there are some functions which are cross-cutting such as teamwork, health and safety, customer service. Re-bundling of NOSs provides flexible toolkit or array of functions from which a Qualification can be designed on the basis of the need and demand of target audience.

NOSs are the basic units which can be repackaged in order to meet the need of sector specific Qualifications. In such a case awarding bodies or the providers of the Qualifications get freedom to design their own training programs clubbing together the required NOSs. The packaging of these approved NOSs can be done keeping in mind the purpose of the Qualification, duration of the Qualification (whether short term Qualification or a long term Qualification), level of the Qualification (entry level Qualification or a specialised Qualification).

International perspective

In the international context too, Qualifications Register comprise of NOS directory which is directory of all approved NOSs. These approved NOSs are available for creation of different types of Qualifications. For example, NOS can be used to develop range of Qualifications starting from Apprenticeships, foundation degrees to vocational Qualifications. In case of UK, all the NOSs are available for such use in the form of NOS database at In other countries, it is NOSs which are updated on regular intervals so that they are as per the current industry standards.

Blog Disclaimer:-    Any views or opinions represented in this blog are of the author and do not represent/reflect views of the organization.