With a huge growth in elementary education enrolments and improvements in retention and transition rates in recent years in the wake of RTE Act, the demand for secondary schooling has also growing rapidly. Investments in secondary schooling have high marginal rates of return, it being the supply chain for the labour force in semi-organised and organised sectors of the economy. This aspect of secondary schooling brings in sharp focus the importance of vocational education at secondary stage and beyond.
In tune with the vision laid out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations, vocational education has been included as a component under the umbrella of ‘SamagraShiksha’ (Integrated Education) Scheme on School Educationof the Ministry of Education (MoE). The scheme seeks to integrate vocational education with general academic education with the objective to prepare educated, employable and competitive human resource for various sectors of the economy and the global market.
National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF)-compliant vocational courses are taught to students from 9thto 12thclasses. At the secondary level, vocational modules are offered to students as an additional subject. At senior secondary level, these are offered as a compulsory (elective) subject.
The scheme covers 55 job roles in 19 sectors i.e. agriculture, apparel,made ups &home furnishing, automotive, bankingfinance and insurance services, beauty and wellness, construction, electronics &hardware, healthcare, information technology/IT-enabled Services, media &entertainment, multiskilling, physical education & sports, plumbing, retail, security, telecom, tourism & hospitality and transportation logistics &warehousing.
As of now, less than 10,000 schools are approved under vocationalisation of secondary and higher secondary education with enrolment of less than 8.0 lakh students. This is about 5 pc of Government/Government-aided/ social welfare department/local body secondary and higher secondary schools. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) offers 40 vocational courses at senior secondary level and 15 courses at secondary level in its affiliated schools. The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) also runs 103 vocational courses up to higher secondary level. Altogether, over 100 job roles have been identified by the Ministry of Education.
The PSSCIVE assists MOE and states/UTs in providing academic and technical support to vocational education programmes in schools.
Learning outcome based curricula and student textbooks and teacher handbooks for NSQF-compliant Qualification Packs (QPs) of various job roles have been developed for vocational subjects. These are published by NCERT and can be accessed on NCERT and PSSCIVE websites. Also, e-Learning materials of employability skills have been developed for facilitating teachinglearning. Students pursuing vocational courses at Plus 2-level are provided facilities for apprenticeship training under the Apprenticeship Act.
A vocational education cell within CBSEencourages and supportsstates to set up similar cells in state Boards and guide students to take up vocational courses along with academic courses either as combination subjects or additional subjects, and allow credit accumulation and transfer on the pattern of CBSE-NIOS collaboration.
PSSCIVE,in collaboration with state Boards/ CBSE/ experts has developed exemplary competencybased curricula with inputs from industry, and business organisations. Suitable amendments in regulations for industry need to be framed for engaging the vocational education pass-outs in order to increase the market value of the courses under vocationalisation. A formal system of vocational education certification needs to be evolved to certify students and youths to acquire skills; this would require adequate and suitable infrastructure to impart the vocational training.
(The author is a historian,
columnist and Festival Director,
Valley of Words: International
Literature & Arts Festival, Dehradun)
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