School Principals Divided on Merging Vocational Education with Formal Education System

School Principals Divided on Merging Vocational Education with Formal Education System

School principals are divided on merging vocational education with formal education with some saying it’s long overdue and others advocating for the apprenticeship model to develop skills. According to the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, beginning with vocational exposure at early ages in middle and secondary school will allow smooth integration of quality vocational education in school and higher education.

Vocational education will be integrated in the educational offerings of all secondary schools in a phased manner over the next decade. The development of vocational capacities will go hand in hand with the development of academic or other capacities, the policy has suggested. “As a country, we made a mistake several decades ago by not taking vocational education seriously. In many advanced industrialised societies, such as Singapore or Germany, vocational education, ITI or diploma programmes are considered a legitimate pathway for a meaningful career. We should adopt this approach and give vocational education more significance,” said Vishnu Karthik, co-founder, of Heritage International Xperiential School, Gurugram.

“The traditional education system in our country has become too cerebral and fails to equip children with practical skills. For instance, engineers are often too theoretical in their approach and lack sufficient exposure to practical challenges,” he added. Shishir Jaipuria, chairman, of Seth Anandram Jaipuria Group of Educational Institutions, said skill gap is one of the most pressing concerns for the industry today.

“The Future of Jobs Report 2023 by the World Economic Forum identifies shortage of requisite skills as a key factor preventing optimal growth in the industry,” he said. “To address this gap, businesses have begun adopting a skill-first approach. The education sector too needs to put vocational education on an equal footing with mainstream education. There has to be a widespread integration of vocational education in secondary school education,” he added.

However, Meenakshi Bhakuni, principal of GD Goenka Public School, Vasant Kunj believes that formalising vocational education will only damage the existing system. “In our country, we cannot copy the vocational education model as envisioned and practised in the West. Traditionally, for thousands of years, we have operated and flourished using the apprenticeship model. Whether we look at electricians, mechanics, carpenters, plumbers, masons, blacksmiths or shoemakers, all have flourished outside the formal education system,” she said.

“Honestly, there is no need to bring vocational education in the formal system. What can be a better option is strengthening the apprenticeship models. ”For example, many automobile companies offer short modules to existing mechanics and train them in the latest technologies that they have incorporated in their latest models of automobiles. Similarly, cable industries invite, train and offer incentives to practising electricians. If we try to formalise such vocations, we might end up damaging the existing system,” she added.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the principal of another top school in Delhi said formalising vocational education may work in foreign countries but not in India. “Moving away from rote learning is a different thing and must be done as the NEP proposes but there is a long road to merging vocational education with formal education in schools. It works well in foreign countries but cannot be exactly replicated in India,” she said

Published By:- News18
Published On:- 9th December 2023

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