Vocational education prepares learners for jobs that are based in manual or practical activities, traditionally non-academic and totally related to a specific trade, occupation or vocation. Even though vocational education is directly related to jobs, Indian parents generally consider it as a last option for their children. However, now with the Skill India Mission, the face of vocational education is gradually changing. Even corporates are increasingly focusing on it.
Tata Institute of Social Sciences School of Vocational Education (TISS-SVE) has launched about 15 courses under the aegis of All India Council for Technical Education. The approach adopted by TISS is called the Work Integrated Training Programme, benefiting a number of students. Juwesh Kumar, who has enrolled in the Bachelor of Vocation degree in electronics manufacturing services with specialisation in mobile phones, looks more than happy and confident about his career.
“I could not pursue higher education due to financial constraints. But here I am getting a degree plus training as well as scholarship. Once I complete my course and land a good job, I will provide some financial relief to my father,” says Kumar who is doing on-the-job training at Lava’s manufacturing plant in Noida.
Vocational training programmes by KOOH Sports, while they fall under the domain of sports, focus on broader prospects like health and fitness, besides training. It has launched the KOOH Sports Institute of Training & Excellence for Sports and Education Skills (KITES). The National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC) accredited training programmes cover job roles like physical education teachers, sports coaches and allied job roles.
“I finished my Bachelor of Physical Education in 2015 and was interested in putting theory into practice. I underwent KITES level 1 skilling and training programme. This has changed my life,” says Simran Dhanola, who is working as a physical education teacher with KOOH Sports.
Sports education is one of the sectors in which, generally, one doesn’t need a certificate. If one has played at state or national levels, he/she is qualified to be a coach. There is also an argument that the government should make certificate mandatory for sports coaches and physical education teachers. “Making a certificate mandatory for coaches and physical education teachers will create one more barrier in getting employment. One way is that let them earn some money while doing their job and then they can go for certificate, diploma or degree courses,” says Chirag Patel, CEO, KOOH Sports.
Maruti Suzuki has shown that corporate social responsibility (CSR) can also play a crucial role in promoting Skill India and vocational education. The carmaker has set up Auto Body Repair and Auto Body Paint workshops at ITI, Pusa, with investment of over Rs 85 lakh, and will spend around Rs 15 lakh on training aides on an annual basis. As many as 100 students can enrol in the course.
“Auto Body Repair and Auto Body Painting are niche areas. With the specialised training programme and state-of-the-art facilities, we aim to equip the institutes to offer relevant skills to students. On completion of the course, students are job-ready, and will be able to perform and excel in this specialised area of car service and repair,” says Pankaj Narula, executive director (Service), Maruti Suzuki.
The minimum eligibility for these courses is either 10th or 12th standard. Programmes like these help bridge the gap between literacy and employment rates, with a focus on job-specific skills. Such initiatives further Skill India by helping economically weaker students secure their career.