A robust vocational educational ecosystem is being created in several schools

As per the collaborative report titled, ‘Education 4.0 Report’ by the World Economic Forum (WEF), the United Nations Children’s Education Fund and YuWaah (Generation Unlimited India), the school-to-work transition is still facing hurdles in India even after the end of COVID. As per this report, 85% of schools in India have not implemented vocational courses as part of their curriculum till now, due to the absence of effective coordination, Indian schools have not been able to build a robust skilling educational ecosystem.
However, the implementation of NEP 2020 has catalysed the process of bringing in a vocational educational culture in schools across the country. Students from class VI onwards are being familiarised with the vocational subjects and courses. CBSE has introduced a short exposure module of 12-hour duration for class VI and above to strengthen students’ vocational skills.
Speaking to Education Times, Biswajit Saha, director, CBSE, “NEP 2020 recommends that about 50% of the students in schools get exposure to vocational education by 2025 in a targeted manner. It also advocates that students need to be given early exposure to vocational education from class VI onwards. CBSE has designed a short exposure module of 12 hours for class VI and above to strengthen the vocational skills among the students.”
HEIs have recognised the importance of vocational subjects for admissions at the UG level, which is prompting more students to opt for vocational subjects at secondary and senior secondary levels. “Students must adopt a flexible approach while selecting the subject combinations which would strike a healthy balance between the academic and vocational subjects. NEP 2020 does not aim to segregate academics from vocational courses. For high-quality vocational education, schools should partner with colleges, polytechnics and Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs),” explains Saha.
85% of schools mentioned in the WEF report are the ones that have not implemented vocational courses in the true spirit. “To impart hardcore skills to the students, schools need to have high-end laboratories including an IT Lab, Composite Science Lab and separate Physics, Chemistry and Maths labs in schools. The schools can be incubation hubs for which CBSE has partnered with the National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET) and AICTE to develop skill hubs in schools,” adds Saha.
Sudha Acharya, chairperson, National Progressive Schools Conference (NPSC), says, “Realising the importance of imparting vocational education, school students are being made to do internships. Also, industry interface meetings in schools have become a common practice, while students are encouraged to participate in industry visits.”
Aarti Bakshi, member, CBSE committee of Life Skills, says, “A structured vocational curriculum is the need of the hour. Vocational curricula in sync with the needs of the industry help in career awareness and exposure through internships are some of the prerequisites to ensure that students succeed when they enter the job market. The absence of mentors, inadequate resources and infrastructure, poor integration with the mainstream school curriculum and poor linkages between localised skill gaps and vocational courses are some of the impediments faced by schools in India.”