Vocational training after high school

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Secondary School Certification (SSC) and its equivalent exams in India have a unique place in the educational pursuits of every student. It’s the culmination of years of schooling where one aspires to pass the 10th standard exams with outstanding scores and GPA. No matter how many exams we appear for later, SSC holds a special place in our lives as a critical juncture where we made some conscious decisions about further studies and career path. The 2015 SSC results had an interesting story about Golla Srinivas, a high achiever, who, first prefers to get skilled in a polytechnic instead of taking the common route to an Engineering college through Intermediate or 10+2 course.

vocational training ITI

Vocational training after high school for becoming a better engineer

The overzealous aspiration for professional courses, especially in high achievers, is seen in preparing for IIT or Engineering college entrance exams by choice and ITI or Polytechnic college by force. Actually, they prefer to get an Engineering  degree from an average or below-average college than explore vocational diplomas, humanities and other subjects. They don’t mind slogging mindlessly to appear in various entrance exams without even thinking once how they would cope with negative results , frustration, social pressure etc? For that matter how many Engineering graduates get decent placements? What matters most – a job or a career ?

It was good to see the news item in yesterday’s The Hindu that talked about one of the toppers in SSC exams in Telangana who thinks differently. The clarity about what this bright student wants to do is rather rare and highly desirable in most of our youngsters. Golla Srinivas, comes from a modest family background and he aspires to take up a course in polytechnic to get skilled before joining an Engineering college. Sure, this would help him in becoming a better engineer, as he would first gain vocational knowledge and training and then go for graduation. It also improves his job prospects and makes him a well-rounded professional.

Srinivas has opted to join polytechnic; when high achievers like him choose vocational courses, they set an example for others too. It’s high time students are made aware of various options after schooling and most importantly, the need to get skilled and become employable before enrolling for higher education. They should realize that an Engineering degree on its own will land them nowhere if they are not trained as per the requirements of the industry. Vocational courses also give them opportunities to discover their innate talent and hone their skills and nurture them continuously. And, this is absolutely necessary in evolving global economy.

Today, it’s no longer relevant to flaunt our educational qualifications while seeking employment. In fact, most of the jobs require basic functional and generic skills to perform and contribute to the economy. At the same time, let’s not assume that skills are always manual and  predominantly meant for low level jobs. This may well be needed to get our first jobs but skills (combined with updated knowledge) are essential throughout our professional career. We need to upgrade them with a cross section of skills and knowledge and of course acquire necessary technical competencies to match with technological advancements in every occupation. Hence, skill based courses and vocational training is not just for low achievers or drop outs; its equally significant if we need to be employable or create employment for others by becoming entrepreneurs.

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