Vocational Education: It’s Benefits, Challenges Ahead

Banday Abid Shafi

The Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Vocationlization of Secondary Education was launched in year 1988. The Scheme envisaged selection of vocational courses on the basis of assessment of manpower needs. The main objectives of the scheme, as spelt out in the National Policy on Education 1986, were to provide diversification of educational opportunities so as to enhance individual employability, reduce the mismatch between demand and supply of skilled manpower and to provide an alternative for those pursuing higher education. Vocationalization refers to efforts by schools to include in their curriculum those practical subjects which are likely to generate among students some basic knowledge, skills and dispositions that might prepare them to think of becoming skilled workers or to enter manual operations. Vocational Education refers to a system or course of study which prepares individuals for jobs that are based on manual or practical activities. Vocational Education and Training (VET) is an important element of the nation’s Education initiative. Vocational Education is traditionally non-academic in nature and is totally related to a specific trade, occupation or vocation. Because it is Vocation based, it is called Vocational Education. Until recently i.e. until the end of the twentieth century, the aim of vocational education was to focus on specific trades such as automobile mechanic or welder and was therefore associated with the activities of lower social classes. Because of this, it attracted a level of stigma. Vocational education, in fact, is closely related to the age-old apprenticeship system of learning. Vocational courses are typically more practical and skillsbased than academic degrees. Vocational education has to be viewed from different multi-layered practices. One is of course the hands on training component. The other is employment generation and sustainability. If you know exactly what you want to do in your career and it requires practical skills, then vocational learning is important. The government is well aware of the important role of vocational education and has already taken a number of important initiatives in this area .Vocational education prepares an individual for a job and not college. While most colleges will accept vocational education students, they tend to be limited because most colleges lack proper courses. Vocational education is a multifaceted one as it tends to focus around several careers which include IT/ITeS, Healthcare, Tourism, Hotel Management, Physical Education and Sports, Mass communication, Beauty and wellness etc. There are many vocational schools across the country which provides the students to gain valuable hands-on experience. Vocational Education helps people in the better performance of their jobs as they acquire a great learning experience. Vocational education and training is a sort of introduction as it gets employees ready for the workplace which comes in handy while performing various tasks. Due to the nature of the skills it imparts, a student doesn’t consider it a futility as compared to academic education. Vocational Education as the term itself denotes the students are specialized and therefore they have more chances of employment as compared to others. Many students who are in a dilemma whether they should attend college or not, Vocational education really opens a completely new door. The career of one’s own choice is one of the major benefits of this education. This type of education is a great asset to the economy.
All school Heads must encourage the efforts of Vocational trainers and help them in performing their work. All the concerned departments must release all the funds on time so that the genuine demands be met on time and student education may not get effected.
Our government need not import foreign technicians on higher wages as our own can do the required work. Technical programs develop the economy by bridging the demand and supply gap with highly skilled workers. It also gives students the opportunity to take marketable skills from the classroom directly into the working world. This education provides stable jobs as these are the jobs whose demand is never fulfilled. The National Vocational Education Qualification Framework (NVEQF), which has been launched by AICTE and Ministry of HRD mainly focuses on general education element into vocational education and vice versa. It bring the vocational education program in schools that will offer new career choices to students and make them better prepared for the world of work. Through NVEQF, Ministry aims to develop the skills and competencies of students opting for vocational courses. CBSE is offering Vocational courses consisting of various subjects in its about 500 governments and government aided schools across the country. NIOS also offers vocational education courses through its accredited vocational Institutes which include Government Institutes, NGOs and Registered Societies. Skill India is a campaign launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15 July 2015 which aim to train over 40 crore people in India in different skills by 2022. It includes various initiatives of the government like “National Skill Development Mission”,”National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, 2015″, and “Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)”. The scheme of Vocationalization was started some 4-5 years back (2016) in our UT of J&K and Ladakh, sponsored by MHRD Government of India and a number of trades were included in the curriculum. For the process of recruitment of Vocational Trainers government utilized the services of third Parties (Private companies). The recruitment process was completely based on written test followed by viva voice. At the initial stage some 352 schools were selected in JK for Introduction of vocational subject in their curriculum, which has now gone beyond 550 schools across the UT of Jammu and Kashmir including Ladakh. There are more than 1700 Vocational Trainers working in these schools to impart the skills in the students. These vocational Trainers are working hard and doing their job with full zeal and enthusiasm besides they are paid meager wages. The qualifications of these vocational Trainers are quite good with some VTs having Post Graduate and Equivalent. As the time is passing and the scarcity of jobs is increasing day by day , these vocational Trainers are demanding job policy so that their future get secured as some of the VTs are crossing their age limits. These VTs being recruited by Third Parties were and still are supposed to face lot of challenges at work places. During the initial stage some VTs were not even allowed to join, some are now assigned to do extra work at schools besides their regular work. The students always outshine in these vocational subjects every year by scoring good Percentage in annual board exams .The vocational Trainers are trying their best to make sure that every student gets the best knowledge and skill. Talking to one of the Vocational Trainer, he told that we are demanding job policy and inclusion of VTs in education department on the pattern of ReTs so that our future not gets affected. As we are witnessing there is a huge demand of skilled personnel’s in public as well as private sector, the vocationalization may pave the way for it. It is the demand of all the vocational Trainers to the higher authorities kindly listen to their concerns and do some good for them. It is pertinent to mention here that most of the schools having vocational subjects are falling in hard zones of the valley. although a lot has been achieved in physical terms, there are lot of challenges which need to be addressed at the earliest for the effective implementation of the scheme of vocationalization and to get better results in near future. These are Lack of social acceptability, Lack of employment opportunities, and Overall poor enrolment in vocational stream in such schools. Lack of focus on emerging areas of industrial development. Inadequate syllabi being followed in schools and use of obsolete equipments. Some of the recommendations made for the successful implementation of vocational education is adequate infrastructure (Labs) should be provided in schools, and schools also should be properly equipped for teaching and learning. Adequate enlightenment campaigns should be carried out in order to educate the society about the importance of technical and vocational education. There should be effective industrial participation in vocational schools and also there should be an arrangement for students to visit the industrial areas at least once a month. Professional and experienced teachers should be employed to teach vocational and technical subjects. Regular training programs in the form of seminars, conferences, in‐service training programs, short courses and workshops should be organized at regular intervals to simulate teachers’ interest in vocational and technical subjects. Contemporary instructional materials should be provided. Vocational subjects should be taught by using up-to-date modules. The need of the hour is the effective implementation of the scheme and inclusion of these vocational subjects in all the secondary and higher secondary schools. All school Heads must encourage the efforts of Vocational trainers and help them in performing their work. All the concerned departments must release all the funds on time so that the genuine demands be met on time and student education may not get effected.
(The author is a nursing research scholar.Views are his own, bandayaabid@gmail.com)

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