Dr Jyoti Sharma
Vocational Education is education within vocational schools that prepare people for a specific trade. Vocational education is classified as using procedural knowledge. The idea of vocational education has a long history. Notably, the 1964 Kothari Commission came to the conclusion that many jobs don’t require university degrees, and can be performed by well-trained higher secondary students. The commission suggested that at the higher secondary stage there needs to be two distinctive streams: one that prepares students for higher education in universities and colleges and another that prepares them for a variety of vocations immediately after school.
In India, vocational education is currently imparted by more than 13,000 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) – post-secondary institutes constituted under the Directorate General of Employment and Training (DGET), Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE). These cater to about 36% of the people enrolled in various training programmes in India.
School boards, such as the CBSE, also offer vocational subjects to students. In 2016, the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) introduced Class XII certificates for vocational courses and admissions are currently open for the academic year 2017-18.
However, all is not well with vocational education in India. In our country, vocational education is perceived only as an option for students from the lower strata of society who are less academically-able. An education that makes electricians, mechanics, fitters, turners, wiremen, plumbers, and beauticians is not considered worthy. Very few people are willing to consider it, despite the fact that many ITIs have 100 percent placement records and many students end up earning between Rs 18,000 and Rs 20,000 per month after finishing their vocational studies. It’s a deep-rooted mindset problem and little is done to resolve this basic issue.” I want to quote my own example here. After completion of my B.com I took admission in Govt. ITI College Jammu in a computer course name COPA (Computer Operator and Programming Assistant).The duration of course is one year and side by side I joined M.Com through Distance mode from University of Jammu. Many well wishers of mine suggested me to focus on my Post Graduation then wasting time in such Govt aided courses but I balanced between both. And in future during my research time this course helped me a lot as I got well versed with many computer techniques technically.
Importance of vocational education
Sanjay Kumar Sinha, Director NIOS, feels that effectively implemented vocational education can address the unemployment problem by training students for a large number of blue-collar jobs.
“For the country like India to progress we need people for all kinds of jobs – not just white-collar employees working on computers in the convenience of air-conditioned offices.”
Vocational education also helps students to look beyond academic courses and apply their learning. It also offers an opportunity to students who are not able to cope with mainstream education. When effectively implemented, vocational education can also become the bedrock for industry. For instance, Germany has become a major industrial power on the strength of its dual vocational training. A large number of school-leavers opt for this two-to-three year programme that involves hands-on training at companies and weekly classes for theory.
(The author is Dy Director PD&MD)