Education is the fundamental right of every Indian citizen. It is an important pre-requisite for the progress of an individual and of the nation. Takshashila and Nalanda Universities were the earliest universities of India. In India, education is provided by both the Government and private sectors. Other than the primary and secondary education, vocational education is also catching up fast with today’s generation.
Vocational education refers to a system or course of study which prepares individuals for jobs that are based on manual or practical activities.
The plethora of opportunities available in diverse fields today means that exams are not the end of the world. Gone are the days when students only opted for a traditional career in engineering or medical courses. Today, youngsters look for satisfaction in the jobs they do and thus they prefer to pursue a career or field of their interest.
Vocational education basically consists of practical courses through which one gains skills and expertise directly linked to a career in future. Moreover, with Indian economy expanding, different sectors are growing and so is the demand for professionals in various fields. Professions like hair cutting, fashion designing, jewellery designing, palmistry, salon, boutique, footwear designing, advertising, public relations, catering, interior designing, lighting, wedding planning, gift packing, candle making, card designing, toy making, paintings and flower making, bag designing, tourism industry, mobile and gadget repairing, music and dance, acting, nutrition and fitness industry, gym culture and many more, have witnessed a surge in demand by the people availing these services, and has resultantly pulled a large number of aspirants into these vocations.
Not only these professions offer umpteen opportunities and glorious career most of the time they do not require any major academic qualification. All that is needed, is the honed skill required for the profession, the enthusiasm to learn and the passionate desire to create something new and unique. Then sky becomes the limit. In fact, through hard work and creativity one can be far more successful and famous in the world than those pursuing the regular field of study. There are endless personalities who did not fare well in exams but by choosing the career of their own choice and working hard in the field they loved they have made a distinguished name for themselves. Pablo Picasso, Walt Disney, Shiamak Davar, Lata Mangeshkar, Bill Gates, Jawed Habib, Ritu Kumar, Sachin Tendulkar and many more have not pursued an academic career, yet are extremely successful today.
The growing demand of professionals has led to the opening up of institutes and training colleges to provide training for the same. While some promise excellent dance courses, others guarantee a perfect course in cooking. A formal vocational training follows a structured training programme and provides certificates, diplomas or degrees, recognised by State/Central Government or other reputed concerns; in-formal vocational training helps in acquiring some marketing expertise, which enables a person to pursue the profession of his/her choice.
The prescribed training also lays down standards in respect of syllabi, equipment, scales of accommodation, duration of courses and methods of training. It also conducts tests in various trade courses and lays down standards of proficiency required for passing the examination leading to the award of the certificate.
In 1976-77, the Vocational Education Programme (VEP), under the purview of the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD), was started in general education institutions. While Vocational Education is a part of formal education system and the courses are offered in school grades 11 and 12, Vocational Training is outside formal education system and is open to students who leave school anywhere from grades 8 to 12. The purpose of the programme is to enhance individual employability, reduce the mismatch between demand and supply of skilled manpower and provide an alternative for those pursuing higher education without particular interest or purpose.
The All India Council for Vocational Education (AICVE), under MHRD, is responsible for planning, guiding and coordinating the programme at the national level. State Council for Vocational Education (SCVE) performs similar functions at the state level. There is a need to focus on the skills for the informal sector as it is estimated that the largest share of new jobs in India is projected to come from the unorganised sector that employs up to 93% of the national workforce and produces 60% of GDP.
“Educate a woman, and you educate the whole family.”
With regard to women’s education, it can be said that educating or providing practical training to women can go a long way in making them independent. DGET (Directorate General of Employment and Training) launched Women’s Vocational Training Programme, which aimed at bringing more women as skilled employees in the organised sector.
If all the sectors of India join hands in providing the different education patterns under one roof, it can boost India’s employment rates greatly. Vocational education will not only provide jobs, but give many a reason to live a worthy and independent life.