Vocational training in schools: Why it matters

Understanding the importance of vocational training in schools

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Vocational Training

Vocational Education

Vocational education is a skill-based program designed to equip students with knowledge, training, and hands-on skills in a specific trade or profession. Often termed as technical or career education, its essence lies in providing application-based training rather than purely theoretical knowledge.

Role of Vocational Training in Schools 

Vocational training within schools aims to make students career-ready by providing them with real-time, practical experiences in their chosen sectors. The overarching objective is to ensure students are poised for employment upon graduation. The National Education Policy (NEP 2020) underscores various reasons for integrating vocational training within the traditional academic framework.

  • Vocational training evolves with time, focusing on imparting practical, real-world skills
  • Beyond mere theoretical knowledge, students gain tangible skills, positioning them for employment post-graduation
  • The focus is more on hands-on skills rather than rote learning
  • Students have the agency to explore and delve into areas that genuinely interest them
  • Students gain practical insights and firsthand experience in their fields of choice
  • Vocational training sparks interest and engagement in chosen subjects from a young age
  • Using their innate curiosity, students refine and hone their skills

Also Read: NEP 2022: How School Leaders can transform the education sector

Under the umbrella of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme Samagra Shiksha, the Department of School Education and Literacy has introduced vocationalization of school education. Compliant with the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF), these vocational courses are offered from class 9th to 12th in affiliated schools. At the secondary level (Class IX and X), vocational modules are introduced as an additional subject. However, at the senior secondary level (Class XI and XII), they become a compulsory elective. 

According to UNESCO’s State of the Education Report, there’s an emphasized focus on vocational education and training. The National Education Policy (NEP) envisions offering vocational education to 50% of all students by 2025.

Academic Training vs Vocational Training

Vocational training furnishes students with the precise knowledge and skills required for a specific profession or trade, such as plumbing or cooking. In contrast, academic education offers broad, theoretical knowledge spanning multiple subjects, which might not be directly related to a student’s eventual career

Why Vocational Training is Imperative for Schools

  • Skill Enhancement: NEP’s choice to integrate vocational training contrasts with the traditionally theory-heavy education system. It champions the honing of practical skills, allowing students to better grasp and apply theoretical concepts.
  • Increased Engagement: Students find value and motivation in vocational classes, knowing they’re acquiring practical, future-oriented skills.
  • Career Clarity: Vocational training instills a clearer sense of direction, providing students with hands-on experience in their fields of interest.
  • Cost-Effective: It’s often more affordable than conventional education but offers extensive career opportunities supported by rigorous training.
  • Networking Opportunities: Practical components of the course help students improve their communication skills , fostering networking with peers and professionals.
  • Community Building: Students in vocational courses form tight-knit communities, leading to beneficial professional networks in the future.
  • Responsibility: Vocational students often display heightened responsibility and capability.
  • Physical Activeness: Some vocational tasks demand physical involvement, promoting fitness and valuing manual work.
  • Financial Independence: Vocational training paves the way for financial self-sufficiency, even without formal education.
  • Resolving College Indecision: For students uncertain about college, vocational training presents diverse opportunities.
  • Passion-Driven Learning: Students are more engaged when they’re passionate, and vocational training often taps into their genuine interests.

Challenges in Implementing Vocational Training in Schools 

Several barriers warrant a shift in perspective, including:

  • Limited Appeal: Even if schools make vocational training mandatory, it might appeal to only a minority, due to the challenge of building student confidence in its value.
  • Societal Bias: The prevailing societal bias against manual labor can deter students.
  • Parental Influence: Often, parents exert significant influence over a child’s educational and career choices.
  • Lack of Awareness: There’s a general lack of knowledge about potential career trajectories via the vocational route.
  • Overlooking Entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurial avenues stemming from vocational training often go unnoticed or undervalued.

Also Read: Why are Music Classes Essential in Early Childhood?

Education transcends mere grades and numbers; it’s about shaping futures. By breaking free from traditional molds and recognizing the worth of vocational training, we can guide our youth towards brighter, more fulfilled futures. Vocational training has the potential to revolutionize the educational landscape, allowing students to identify their strengths early and equipping them for real-world challenges.

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