According to United Nations, India is all set to overtake China to become the most populous country by 2028. Therefore, the need of the hour is to harness as much youth as possible to become productive work force.
Undoubtedly, there has been a lot of progress in the field of education, but one cannot say the same for Vocational Education, which is an essential pillar for developing India. As per a recent study by ASSOCHAM, there will be a deficit of 40 million working professionals by 2020. In addition, it has also been seen that about 41 per cent of employers are still faced with the difficulty of filling positions because of the shortage of suitable talent and skill in their particular field.
It will not be wrong to say that we have reached this level due to our belief that vocational courses are only for people from poor financial background. Most of the parents lure their kids into academics and conventional degrees, with only a few who venture into vocational courses, thinking that there is no future in it. However, in words of Sanjog Patne, Director, Institute of Printing Technology, Pune (IPT), “Students who have done a course from IPT are earning very good income. Earnings can go up to Rs 1 lakh per month even if they get a good opportunity.”
What is Vocational Education?
Vocational Education refers to a system or course of study which prepares individual for jobs that are based on practical activities. Until recently, vocational courses were referred to jobs like mechanic, welder and other such menial employments, thus the stigma attached to it. However, due to the changing economies of the world into more knowledge based economies, the world now requires an individual to be specialised in a particular skill. Now, in the 21st century, only people who are experts in any technical field can secure good jobs. Therefore, there is an increase in demand of higher level of skills, both in government and business sectors.
Importance of Vocational education
Durjay Puri, President & CEO, GRAS Academy explains, “The traditional education system in India has not been able to keep up with the transitioning demand and aspirations of youth. Earning a university degree is no guarantee that a student will find a job, let alone a job of choice. Many of our youth leave school early due to financial and other circumstances. They end up doing menial jobs where they are paid little and are often exploited by unscrupulous employers. Vocational training will help our youth (both men and women) to learn skills that will endure for their entire work lives. Learning practical skills in various fields such as Electronics, IT, Hospitality, Healthcare, Telecom etc will enable our youth to find employment or start their own businesses and therefore earn livelihoods with dignity.”
On same lines, Sanjog Patne of IPT says, “The main intention of starting IPT is to improve lives of youth with appropriate vocational training in printing & packaging. We train the youth so that they can generate an income of their own or can join in any organisation as there is a huge demand for printing people in India, especially in Delhi NCR and Gujarat as these are hubs of printing & packaging.”
Let us now get to know the positive aspects of vocational courses so that we can get many options for higher studies after 12th:
Private Vocational Centres filling the gap
It had been seen that the void between unemployability and vocational training cannot just be filled by the government. The need and demand for private players was felt. Therefore, many private vocational centres have come up with unique vocational courses for livelihood. GRAS Academy, Gram Tarang, Indus EduTrain (partners with NSDC), Institute of Printing & Packaging, Pune are a few who have initiated to bring about social change by empowering the unemployed and out-of-work youth by training them on vocational skills to make them ‘Eduployable’. This endeavour in turn, is aimed at giving a huge boost to the up scaling economy of the nation by making available, much-needed skilled manpower to the job market.
Government Reforms in the sector
Vocational Education and Training (VET) is an important element of the nation’s education initiative. The Government being well aware of the important role of Vocational education has already taken a number of important initiatives in this area. Recently, National Skill Development agency has been set up by the Indian Government, which aims to regulate and coordinate all the workforce skills development programs. Besides this, Government has initiated programmes like Udaan, National Urban Livelihood Mission, Training programs on Modular employable skill, Aajeevika Mission of National Rural Livelihood etc. The Government has also opened many Polytechnics, which provide a three year diploma course. Puri of Gras Academy shares, “The Government of India has taken the lead in enabling skill development to take a quantum leap in the last 2-3 years. Not only is the government funding skill development programs but also encouraging the private sector to participate in skilling and employment. This will help crores of youth to get trained and be gainfully employed in times to come.”