B.Voc (Bachelor of Vocational Degree) courses are available in several fields for students who have completed their 12th standard or equivalent. This is largely targeted towards youth who want to enhance their employability opportunities to learn, earn and grow. The advantage of these courses is that as against common Degree courses like Engineering or B.Com or B.Sc, here you have multiple exit points and continued exposure to industry. The work experience increases your chances of landing a job. You may also find innovative, trendy and new areas of expertise that match with your interests and job aspirations.
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The B.Voc. programmes are offered by universities and colleges alongside other undergraduate (UG) courses. However, unlike the traditional UG courses, B.Voc curriculum is often mapped with job role descriptions as per National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF). Since the curriculum is industry and work-integrated and for some reason, if you are unable to complete the 3-year program, you can still obtain a Diploma and and Advanced Diploma (or equivalent) after completion of the first and second years respectively. Hence, your knowledge and skills are valued at every level and you will be qualified for a suitable job, as per market requirements. You can even explore becoming an entrepreneur in your domain!
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Highlights of B.Voc Degree Courses
- B.Voc degree programmes are offered in over 200 colleges across the country.
- This is a 3 year degree course after Higher Secondary or Intermediate/P.U college with multiple entry and exit points.
- Students completing the first year get a Diploma certificate, after second year they get the Advanced Diploma certificate and after completion of three years, the B.Voc. Degree is awarded.
- The course curriculum has 40% general education (theory) and 60% vocational training (practical) components.
- These programs follow semester system and offer credits after completion of the course.
- The students who have enrolled in B.Voc courses appreciate the practical focus and are confident that their chances of getting a suitable job are higher than other graduates.
- These courses are expected to comply with NSQF and are financially aided by the UGC (University Grant Commission).
Institutes offering B.Voc courses receive a financial allocation of Rs 1.85 crore for a period of three years. It includes a one-time start-up assistance of Rs. 50 lakh for setting up of laboratories/workshops facilities, procurement of teaching and learning materials, machinery/equipment and renovation. Besides, institutes will receive Rs 75 lakh towards appointment of one associate professor and two assistant professors among other expenses.
Tata Institute of Social Sciences – School of Vocational Education (TISS-SVE) is one of the pioneering institutions currently offering courses starting from Diploma to B.Voc degrees in the following sectors: Agriculture, Automotive, Banking & Financial Services , Childcare and geriatric care, Dialysis technology, Electronics, Hospitality, Healthcare, Industrial safety, Industrial tool manufacturing, Information technology enabled service, Logistics, Management & entrepreneurship, Media & entertainment, Pharmaceuticals, Printing & packaging technology, Renewable energy, Telecom, Travel & tourism
Many colleges have come forward to offer B.Voc courses by collaborating with different industry sectors. As a part of the course, students do hands-on work in the industry and attend theory classes in the college. In most cases they are also paid stipend by the organisations they work for. Most of them get absorbed by these organisations by the end of their course.
The above is only an indicative list of the vocational sectors / specializations approved under the scheme of B.Voc Degree Programme by UGC till 2014-15. However, Universities and Colleges may like to identify additional sectors/specialization in view of potential employment and regional industrial requirement.
There are a number of other universities and colleges that offer these courses across the states of Punjab, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Haryana, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
The guidelines by UGC for the B.Voc courses
- The general education component should adhere to the normal university standards. It should emphasise and offer courses which provide holistic development. However, it should not exceed 40% of the total curriculum
- Adequate emphasis should be given to language and communication skills.
It also cites that the curriculum should be designed in a manner that at the end of year- 1, year-2 and year-3, students are able to meet the level descriptors for level 5, 6 and 7 of the National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF), respectively.
These colleges provide low cost high quality education locally that includes both skill development as well as regular coursework thereby giving opportunities to the students to move directly into employment sector or move up in the higher education sector. These are job-oriented courses which are preferred by students who cannot pursue professional courses like Engineering due to various reasons. In addition to this students obtaining Diploma (NSQF Level 5) and Advance Diploma (NSQF Level 6) from Community Colleges are eligible for admission into 2nd and 3rd year of B.Voc. degree programme respectively.
The UGC has also recently announced the M.Voc degree for students who have completed the B.Voc course. This will increase the level of certification in vocational education and create more expertise thereby strengthening the vocational education sector. Industry experts and academicians welcome this announcement and view this as an opportunity for vertical mobility.
To summarise, the advantages of B.Voc courses are that they help ensure the learners have adequate skills, make them work-ready and enhance the employability of the graduate students. A unique feature of the curriculum is the blend of vocational and business management concepts. This higher education system incorporates the requirements of various industries in a flexible manner which develops holistic and well – groomed graduates thus meeting the emerging needs of the economy.