A knowledgeable and skilled workforce is seen as the most important human capital required for the development of a country. Both vocational education and skill development are known to increase productivity of individuals, profitability of employers and national growth. Vocational education aims to develop skilled manpower through diversified courses to meet the requirement primarily the unorganized sector and to inculcate self-employment skills in children through a large number of diversified vocational courses. Given that only 7 to 10 percent of population is engaged in formal sector of economy, development of vocational education will provide skilled labour force in the informal sector which would further enhance the productivity. Central Advisory Board on Education (CABE) and National Knowledge Commission (NKC) also emphasize the need to improve access and participation to vocational education and recommends the flexibility of Vocational education within the main-stream education system. NKC also recommends expanding capacity through innovative delivery models including strengthening of public private partnership. In view of this, the Government has renewed the emphasis on vocational education in XIth and XIIth Five Year Plans.
Article on Vocational Education
Vocationalisation of Secondary Education The Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Vocationalisation of Secondary Education at + 2 level is being implemented since 1988. A revised scheme is in operation since 1992-93. The Scheme provides for financial assistance to the States to set up administrative structure, area vocational surveys, preparation of curriculum, textbook, workbook curriculum guides, training manual, teacher training programme, the strengthening of technical support system for research and development, training and evaluation etc. It also provides financial assistance to NGOs and voluntary organizations towards implementation of specific innovative projects for conducting short-term courses. Under the scheme vocational courses are provided in general schools with 2 years duration at the higher secondary stage. Based on the recommendations of various Committee/Review Groups, the existing Scheme has been revamped. For the 12th Plan it is recommended that the Scheme be subsumed under RMSA and should be implemented from secondary level (IX standard) itself unlike the present provision for its implementation from XI standard.
Current Status of Vocational Education in India There are 9583 schools imparting 150 vocational courses of two-year duration in broad areas of primary, secondary and tertiary sector of economy. The Scheme, so far, has created a massive infrastructure of 21000 Sections in 9619 Schools thus catering to diversion of about 10 lakh students at +2 level. In addition, National Institute of Open Schooling also imparts vocational education in 80 courses. Total enrolment in these courses is around 6,00,000.
WAY FORWARD With the launching of NVEQF the coverage in terms of availability of vocational education institutions and students will increase tremendously. The Center will establish a vocational education cell within the Central Board of Secondary Education as per the revised scheme of Vocationalisation of Secondary Education, which includes imparting vocational education in Classes XI and XII. It also envisages strengthening of the 1,000 existing vocational schools by the State governments. The government will provide assistance to 500 vocational schools and will encourage public-private partnership. The government will also support the in service training of existing and fresh teachers. The focus will be on development of 250 competency based modules for each individual vocational courses and assistance to 150 non government organisatons to run short duration innovative education programmes The NVEQF scheme needs to be expanded to all the states and union territories. The necessary infrastructure needs to be provided in accordance with the vocational course offered. For the success of NVEQF participation of private industry in the selection of vocational courses and design of the curricula will be desirable. Close linkages with the industry needs to be established to estimate the requirement of the market and accordingly the courses could be designed.
Role of National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS)
NIOS vocational offers vocational courses through the open and distance learning (ODL) mode using a blended learning approach of both open distance learning methodologies and hands on training. At present 15 States have open schools. More than 1400 Accredited Vocational Institutions (AVI) are operational throughout the country.
Revitalization of Vocational Education: National Vocational Qualification Scheme (NVQF)
The Ministry of Human Resource Development has initiated the process of developing a National Vocational Qualification Framework (NVQF) which would provide a common reference framework for linking various vocational qualification and setting common principles and guidelines for a nationally recognised qualification system and standards. NVEQF will be implemented in schools, polytechnics, engineering colleges and other colleges across the country. The NVEQF was initiated with an aim to bridge skill gap and provide trained manpower to various emerging sectors in India and to prepare the youth for a vocation of their choice.