In a time of continuous economic, social and technological change, skills and knowledge become quickly outdated. People who have not been able to benefit from formal education and exercise must be given chances to obtain new skills and knowledge that will give them another chance in life and at work.
Providing all individuals with learning breaks through their lives is an ambitious but indispensable responsibility. An all-inclusive lifelong learning system calls for the enlistment of enlarged public and private resources for education and training and for providing individuals and enterprises with the inducements to capitalize in gathering their learning and skills development needs.
In India, we consider that education is the key to the task of nation-building. It is also a well-accepted fact that providing the right information and skills to the youth can safeguard the overall national development and economic growth. The Indian education system identifies the role of education and particularly Vocational Education.
Despite being world’s youngest country in terms of demographic dividend, India has only 2% of the workforce skilled paralleled with 96% in South Korea, 45% in China, 50-55% in USA & 74% in Germany. All these years, we focussed on building Higher Education and very little did we think of improving the Employability Quotient (EQ) and produce skilled manpower through skill training Interventions.
In Japan, students are presented technical and vocational education as elective subjects at lower secondary school and upper secondary school. These optional subjects are connected to an occupation which they can take up as a vocational employment or for homemaking in future.
The subjects presented are agriculture, commerce, fishery, domestic arts, etc. The students learning these subjects apply two or three hours a week to gain information and required skills.
In today’s world of Globalisation, Skill Training is an important section of increasing efficiency & output for sound economic growth of any economy, In India, it’s still at an emerging stage, however the plea for skilled manpower is vast and to cover this gap, it is very relevant to re-engineer the skill ecosystem.
Where was Vocational Education Going?
Vocational education seemed to be taking a less than predictable path through its evolution. Moreover Vocational education is about training a candidate for a specific vocation in industry or agriculture or trade, but what was this trade? What were we training ourselves for? In the early 1800s America began to define itself as a country and over the next 100 years we had a pendulum swing like none the world had ever seen before.
With the invention of steam engine, the locomotive and steam boat, and new manufacturing techniques, America began a change from farming to an industrial era. With this change we saw the growth of cities. The small town farming communities were being replaced by large cities, mainly due to the ability to transport goods from one area to another.
No longer did towns have to be entirely self-sufficient. With the change in lifestyle, we saw a dramatic change in education. An educated labour force was needed to fuel this growing industrial machine. Workers needed to know not only how to read and write, but how to operate the mechanical machinery of the time.
Societies believed that it was the public school’s responsibility to provide skilled workers to the new and growing industrial community. Many people believed that in order for our nation to grow and survive we needed to place more emphasis on vocational education.
What do the numbers say?
In India, too, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has been actively engaged in promoting vocational education and skill development at different levels.
In its Annual Report of 2012-13, it reveals that 23.02 lakh students have enrolled for post-school diploma or PG diploma courses, while 30.14 lakh students enrolled in AICTE-approved technical programmes.
These figures can be contrasted with the 203.27 lakh students who enrolled in different universities and colleges for the academic education. Setting up of new polytechnics and strengthening existing polytechnics has been on the governmental agenda for long.
In over 287 districts of the country, State and Union Territory governments have set up polytechnics to provide stepping stones for the young adults find gainful employment. These are worthy developments happening in our country, but we still have a long way to go.
Vocational education in India needs healthy public-private partnership which can add quality and value at every stage of the syllabi roll-out. Moreover, young students also need a healthy dose of confidence and self-esteem as they step out into a more demanding labour market. State and national board program must be revised to formally account for vocational subjects that inculcate ‘doing’ in addition to ‘knowing’.
There are several national schemes for apprenticeship and training already in existence which can be revisited and overhauled in the light of best-practices being adopted in developed and developing countries. These can prove to be game changers as India strives to become a more industrialised economy, with a greater thrust on vocational education and training.
In order for Vocational Education to play its part successfully in the altering national context and for India to enjoy the fruits of the technical fields, there is a vital need to redefine the serious elements of imparting vocational education and training to make them flexible, modern, relevant, comprehensive and creative.
The Government is well aware of the significant role of Vocational education and has already taken a number of vital initiatives in this area.
To inspire and support reforms in skills development and to facilitate nationally standardized and satisfactory, international comparability of qualifications, a “National Vocational Qualifications Framework” is being recognized by the Central Government. Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) has determined to set up an inter-ministerial group which would also comprise representatives of State Governments to grow guidelines for such a National Framework.
Initiatives for skill development should be leaning towards both catering the demand and creating the demand. Skill development is strongly connected to the market and industry. Well-organized skill development programs will add value across wide segments of workers generating rich human resource.
The need of skill development for employability is across every unit of the workforce. From operators and expert level workers to highly skilled labour including of college graduates needs a real platform for skill development. The initiatives by government are huge; however, the extent to which they function is insufficient to bring real progress to the careless nature of current scenario.
This calls in for universal initiative by private entities through cooperated as well as self-governing works.
For example – CEDP Skill Institute believes in empowerment through employability. For the last 8 years, CEDP has been training various students in communications skills and industry readiness through various trainings.
The trainers are situated in CEDP’s head office in Thane and across Mumbai. CEDP has successfully trained and evaluated more than 3000 students through this various skill related courses who feel a great value add to their confidence after the training.
Recently CEDP has been awarded as the best skill development institute by Maharastra Skill development council for their innovative approach to learning.
There is huge scope of growth in Education sector of India. India should focus on an all-inclusive method to improve the human resource of the nation, by implementing better solutions to reach out to thousands of villages in rural scenery.
Leveraging private sector is beneficial since a modest sense to provide service is inductive in this domain. This helps in spreading real and innovative ways to educate the disadvantaged section carrying in more capable as well as pervasive national development.
It is critical that we now target the primary schools and present essential vocation courses with clear workshop contents. Students need hands-on exercise at some stage during their schooling. Such vocational courses in school will surely help mainstream students introducing a wide variety of skills. Like no other.