Vocational education is an integral part of the skilling ecosystem in India. And providing vocational education to students from the school level will pave the way to a skilled India making it the next skill capital of the world.
Despite the fact that there are numerous universities and institutions that train people in skill development, we still need to incorporate them at the school level. Vocational education should be introduced to children from the start of their education so that they are trained and industry-ready when it comes time to look for work.
Amrita University is a forerunner in providing vocational education in our country. Dr. Bhavani Rao R, Director, AMMACHI Labs, Amrita University has long advocated for introducing school-level vocational education to strengthen India’s skilling ecosystem.
To know more about the importance of vocational education and the ways to incorporate them from the school level, we conversed with Dr Bhavani Rao R who shared her experience, insights and thoughts. Here are some of the highlights from our conversation in her own words.
You can watch the full video on our YouTube channel.
Evolution of the skilling ecosystem in India
“Setting up the Ministry of Skill Development was a phenomenal initiative taken by the government. The new NEP has been pushing things in the right direction giving India an opportunity to see the skilling ecosystem in a new light. As the logo of Amrita university says, there are two kinds of education- education for living and education for life. And our entire education system, whether it is vocational or regular, delivers education for living and not for life. They lack in delivering necessary life skills such as problem-solving, cognitive skills, teamwork and communication among others., hence we are losing out on such critical skills.
Along with the life skills, the importance of gaining practical knowledge and hands-on training should be delivered promptly. Hands-on practical training and learning experience will make the students employable and industry-ready.
Vocational education should be streamlined through Qualification Packs (QPs) and National Occupational Standards (NOS). Also, the adoption of technology to further enhance the skilling and vocational space in India should be given utmost importance. Recently, even the budget allocation gave importance to the adoption of technology to enhance vocational education with VRs, online simulators, virtual labs etc.“
Skill development initiatives by Amrita University
“After the 2004 tsunami attack, many fishing folks lost their livelihood and it was difficult for them to get back to the sea as the factors have changed. Then, we started a rehabilitation centre to train women from the fishermen’s families in non-traditional trades like plumbing, and carpentry. And our skill development initiatives led to gainful employment for the family. From this basis, we started focusing more on offering vocational skills to women from rural and underprivileged areas.
We also started training women from red light areas to reskill them. National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT) helped us in covering the entire gamut of education in scaling up the quality of vocational education.
- ICTs created content to train women from brothels in non-traditional trades using technology.
- Train atypical population especially women in plumbing. If the content is easy, they can pick up these trades.
If you want to learn a skill, you need to leverage technology to stimulate physical skills. We have designed our courses from the school level from sixth and seventh grade. Skill e-labs are being designed for school education along with the ministry of education.”
All the courses from Amrita university are available on the eSkill India portal and most of them are free of cost.
All of Amrita University’s courses focus on the three broader aspects of education which are,
- Satyam – you have to base your knowledge on hardcore facts like technical facts
- Shivam – learn for the benefit of society to uplift the harmony in nature
- Sundaram – brings an aesthetic quality to it
And the way forward…
“Vocational education should be introduced to students from the school level to help them understand their interests and career preferences better. Immersive learning as part of the vocationalization of children’s education would help them gain exposure to practical and hands-on skills. It will also help them develop the necessary life skills which they lack otherwise. Most of the subjects can be taught through these skills.
If we can reform our education system to vocationalize it beginning in early childhood, the quality of education and skills in children will be much improved. Also, all the parents should encourage their students to learn any kind of a vocational trade in the early stage of their lives. India was a country that had amazing skills and there is no reason why we, as a country, should not be there again!”