Vocational Education: A Necessity?

Posted on March 27, 2010 in Education

Sandeep Dasika:

Have you ever tried to fix a persistent problem in your refrigerator, or repair your damaged geyser, or even ever tried to publish a desktop?

Well, probably not, I guess!

Don’t worry! Many millions in our country are with you! All of them have one thing common amongst them… and that is the practical way of going about things.

Indeed, this country is severely short of people with proper vocational training. Through the following article, I intend to tell the readers as to how and why India needs to focus on the aspect of vocational courses.

To put it in familiar language, vocational education is basically non-academic education in the occupation or trade of your interest. It is a term given to all those courses which aim to improve the skilled manpower to meet the needs and requirements of the unorganized sector. Its main purpose is to instill skills of self-employment in people. Note that the term vocational training does not normally include training for professions.

So why does one need to go through vocational training?

With the current job market shrinking, academic grades alone do not ensure a good livelihood. Vocational education has a specific and practical focus. It aims to educate people with the skills that they would need to begin a career in the areas of their interest and, after the specific training, people will be eligible for licensure in that specific field, if any license is required, and they can they start working immediately. It is indeed a practical and a more organized way to go about achieving their personal aims.

Theorists in vocational education have emphasized that its aim is to improve the general work culture and to further technical training. Various academic courses are provided that workers who have not completed public school may enroll themselves for while engaged in their regular jobs.

In India the need for vocational education was stressed in the Gandhian philosophy of basic education which propounded the principle that education should be work centered. However, today, the Indian youth is solely obsessed with attaining a graduate degree. Today’s youth tend to look down upon vocational education and as a direct consequence, we see the rising levels of unemployment on one hand, and a serious shortage of skilled workers in the fields of plumbing, typewriting, desktop publishing etc, on the other.

Ideally vocational courses include courses like- Typewriting, Stenography, Secretarial Practices, Architectural Draughtsmanship, Desktop Publishing, Electrical Technician, Plumbing, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, Hair and Skin care etc.

Many countries have realized the importance of vocational training in the education system. For example in the United States, citizens earning low incomes are entitled to participate in JOB CORPS, which is basically a program administered by the US Secretary and the Department of Labor that works with teens and young adults to offer them opportunities to further education and gain social skills and experience through vocational training.

To boost Vocational Education and Skill Development, the Prime Minister in his Independence Address, stated openly to 1600 new ITIs (Industrial Training Institutions) and Polytechnics and 50,000, new Skill Development Centers which would enable the core students to get vocational training. It is however true that India is far behind in introducing new and innovative trades in Vocational Education Training (VET) whereas countries like Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Korea and many others have been supporting vocational education at the school level itself from as early as the year 1970.

I would thus, like to conclude by saying that one of the major drawbacks in the Indian education system is its indifference towards vocational education and the resulting serious mismatch between the skilled manpower required and the skilled manpower available. Every year, India churns out millions and millions of graduates who lack the necessary skills required in the specific market they intend to enter into and Now’s probably the time to focuses on the same.

And if the trend is never to change…the economic growth of India is sure to deteriorate.