Insights into Editorial: Mixing work with study

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Insights into Editorial: Mixing work with study


Context:

The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER)-Rural, 2017 by NGO-Pratham has been concerned with children in the age bracket of 14 to 18.

District level ‘ASER – Beyond Basics’ study was based on a sample of 28,323 youth who are at different levels of development. This cohort is an important segment of the population who are on their threshold of adulthood. The study focused on data on some important dimensions of the preparedness of youth, in rural India, with respect to their ability to lead productive lives as adults.

What are the reasons for the discontinuing of studies?

14.4% of youth aged 14 to 18 years are not enrolled in school or college. It varies with age: while it is 5.3% for 14-year-olds, it rises to 30.2% at age 18.

The imperative clearly is to look at factors that prevent them from being part of formal higher secondary education, of which availability and affordability of schools would be important.

  • Around 25% of the youth who dropped out after grade 8 due to financial reasons.
  • A large number of students (34% of boys and 19% of girls) dropped out due to lack of interest, pointing to deficiencies in the curriculum and teaching infrastructure. 
  • More no of girl students dropped out due to ‘family constraints’.
  • Some of the students dropped out because they failed in their studies.

No-detention policy doesn’t allow schools to fail students until grade 8. As the ASER report points out, while the intention of the policy is commendable, there need to be measures in place to identify and focus on students who have fallen behind in the earlier grades.

Despite the fall in enrolment rates, over 86% of youth in the 14-18 range continue to be within the formal education system. Only about 5% are taking some type of vocational training.

What are the problem areas of Vocational Education in India?

  • There is a high dropout rate at Secondary level.
  • Vertical mobility after the skills obtained is less.
  • Employers mostly tend to prefer young workers with strong basic academic skills and not just vocational skills.
  • Private Industry Participation is lacking.
  • Lack of continuous skill up-gradation.
  • Experienced and qualified teachers to train students on vocational skills are not sufficient.
  • Poor quality of training most of the times is not in line with industry needs.

What should be the objectives of Vocational education in India?

Vocational education plays an important role in the Indian education system. India as a country has quantitative advantage when it comes to workforce but in terms of quality, it has inefficient workforce. Vocational education can fill this gap if we move forward with clear objectives. It would help raise the productivity of both individuals and the economy.

Objectives:

  • Enhance the employability of youth through demand driven competency based modular vocational courses.
  • Maintain their competitiveness through provisions of multi-entry multi-exit learning opportunities and vertical mobility/ interchangeability in qualifications.
  • Fill the gap between educated and employable.
  • Reduce the dropout rate at the secondary level.

What are the Government Initiatives in the area of vocational education?

  • To stimulate and support reforms in skills development and to facilitate nationally standardized and acceptable, international comparability of qualifications, a “National Vocational Qualifications Framework” (NVQF) is being established by the Central Government. Several states have initiated vocational education programmes operated in alignment with NVQF.
  • National Skill Development Corporation India (NSDC) is a one of the kinds of Public Private Partnership in India. It aims to promote skill development by catalysing creation of large, quality, for-profit vocational institutions.
  • Ministry for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has launched the Skills Assessment Matrix for Vocational Advancement of Youth (SAMVAY) that provides seamless movement from education to skill. 
  • A scheme for skilling the unemployed youth in engineering skills using the facility of the technical institutions has been launched as a part of the PM Kaushal Vikas Yojana(PMKVY).
  • Gram Tarang – Targeting tribal/naxal affected areas. Training centres created to train people in Auto CAD, advanced welding on advance machinery funded by NSDC.

Successful Vocational education model in Germany – ‘classroom instruction plus apprentice training’

The German system of Dual Vocational Education and Training (VET) has proven itself to be successful over the last centuries.

It is placed to bridge the gap between the increasing need for theoretical knowledge and real world application of these skills.

The German system encourages the direct involvement and ownership of the industry in the educational process and is in demand all over the globe – also in India.

VET plays a vital role in India’s further development, especially in the light of government’s “Make in India” campaign.

Way Forward

ASER’s statistics indicate that overall, only 5.3% of the age group is enrolled in a vocational course, while 60.2% of out-of-school youth are engaged in some form of work. These trends underscore the need to scale up substantive skill-building programmes.

A National Vocational Policy should establish equivalence for degrees, diplomas and certifications in the vocational education sector for lateral and vertical mobility.

SSC (vocational) or its equivalent 10th grade certification in vocational stream may be created on similar lines as HSC (Vocational) at both national and state level. 

Private Participation from Industry and other players must be encouraged and is critical for the success of the vocational education growth in India. 

79% of working 14-18 years age group is engaged in farming, mostly in their family farms. By contrast, agriculture as work ranked very low as an aspiration among the youth. It is in this context that the role of agriculture as a provider of jobs and prosperity must be viewed.

So, a useful education in agriculture, coupled with access to the formal economy for finance and marketing, could raise the quality of life. AGRI-UDAAN programme to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in agriculture is a step in the right direction.

The ability of farmers to adopt technology, avail benefits offered by the government and demand stronger institutions should also be enhanced.