In a large developing country like India, where there is a major chunk of young population who are largely unemployed or under-employed, Vocational Education has a predominant role to play on the educational battlefront. VET (Vocational Educational and Training), as a part of educational initiative needs to be made more inclusive, relevant, flexible. Contemporary and varied in scope.
Vocational Education aims to provide skill-based education in non-academic zone to provide ability to earn livelihood in any job, industry or profession. They emphasis on the application of knowledge on a practical level, where the theoretical aspect is secondary with a view point to provide techno- operational knowledge of the job and make a person economically self-sufficient.It enables a person to be proficient for specific trades, crafts and careers at various levels. Also referred to as technical education, it is rooted in the age-old practice of apprenticeship system of learning and helps improve the employment potential of an individual.
What is the urgency?
In the fast paced era of development, where employers are looking for more and more productive employees, who can provide gainful returns from Day 1 or for those people who need to be self-sufficient from an early age, vocational education offers a much better leverage than formal academic education which takes a longer duration to incubate and yield result.
Vocational education is being more and more relevant in the contemporary where this skill based training, comesin handy not only for brown collared employment generation but also for enhanced job sustainability where white collared professionals like engineering graduates too need to supplement their degrees with added certifications for an extra impetus.
Thousands of job opportunities arecropping up every day , for instance hospitality and tourism, retail management, software development, graphic designing, content development and the like which calls for a skilled based training after completing the basic Senior Secondary level education.
Prospectsof Vocational Education in India
In India skill- acquisition basically is imbibed through two sources, one the formal one and another the informal. Unfortunately, the World Bank report of 2006 stated that out of the entire segment of working population between the ages of 15 - 29 years, only 2 % had received any formal vocational training whereas the other 8 % received only non-formal vocational training.
The Indian government has woken up to the fact that skill based Vocational training is must to ensure overall national progress and development. It is provided both by the government on a full time and a part time basis.
Full time Vocational Education is provided through I.T.I (Industrial Training Institute), whereas part-time skill-based certifications are provided through State based Technical Institutes or local Universities. The CBSE which is the largest Board in India, directly under the Central government supervision has now initiated the Vocational training classes, right from Plus Two level itself, to bring more and more students under this blanket.
However, the road ahead is not so easy. Lack of support from Private and Industry participation, absence of campus participation of the industrial sector in these training institute, large number of school drop-outs, post-secondary examination all act as deterrent tothe promotion of VocationalEducation.
The challenge now lies in taking up these advanced initiativeto the grass –root level, where the need is the greatest and bring more andmore of the youth who fall outside the category of literacy and education within its fold, to make the maximum difference in the economic sustainability of the nation.