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A vocational edge to a knowledge economy

Vocational Training
A stronger framework for providing vocational education is the key prerequisite to improving India’s gross enrolment ratio (Ger)

THE Indian higher education sector has a mandate to increase its gross enrolment ratio (GER) to 30% by 2020 from the present 13.5%. Speaking at EDGE 2011, a three-day higher education conference held in the Capital recently, Kapil Sibal, minister for human resource development and communications and information technology, said, “Even if we achieve the target ratio we would still lag behind some of the developed countries in the US where the current gross enrolment ratio is 70%.”

There is a consensus among academicians and policy-makers that improvement of learning infrastructure , better funding mechanisms, increased collaborations among academic institutions and industries and most importantly a stronger and sustainable framework for providing vocational education are key prerequisites to improve GER.
Mainstreaming of vocational education was the focus of three conferences that recently concluded in the Capital. Speaking on existing challenges of vocational education at the EDGE conference, Hari Menon, chief executive officer, Indiaskills, said, “There is a deep-rooted sociocultural bias against the value of vocational education. Unlike countries such as Germany and Australia (where people certified in vocational skills command high-paying jobs) our employment market for vocational education is highly underdeveloped and unstructured. For instance, a potential employer is likely to hire a candidate with a vocational certificate at the same salary as he/she would hire a class XII student or graduate who does not have a vocational certificate.”

Proposing solutions to some of the challenges, Swati Majumdar, director , Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning, said, “Both the government as well as institutes imparting vocational education need to organise forums and workshops (both in rural and urban areas) to orient people with the emerging prospects. It has been found that people with vocational certificates get typecasted in terms of work roles and are usually not accepted easily within the folds of mainstream education when they want to further their qualifications . For instance, a person with a certificate in organic farming is not easily accepted in a BSc agriculture programme. Hence, the government , academia and industry have to work together to build a framework that can facilitate easy mobility of skills both in the domain of education as well as employment.”

The private sector has an important role to play in ensuring a sustainable framework for mainstreaming vocational education. At a conference titled ‘National Symposium on 21Century Community Colleges: Strengthening Workforce Development in India for the Global Economy,’ Sanjeev P Sahni, head, education initiatives, Jindal Steel and Power Limited, said, “The National Council of Vocational Training has failed to develop a curriculum that is relevant to the needs of our modern-day industries. The private sector can step in by establishing community colleges that address the training needs of topical industry domains. Vocational training institutes in the private sector can also improve the sector by entering into partnerships with foreign universities that in turn shall help in leveraging improved course content and teaching methodology.”

Many vocational jobs abound in the area of IT. For instance, there is a huge demand for people in the domain of infrastructure maintenance . In fact, most vocational jobs require some basic knowledge of IT applications. Talking about how information technology providers are addressing the landscape of vocational education, Kimberley Voltero, Global Head, Microsoft employability programmes for students, said, “Organisations like ours are working to create an ecosystem in which the students, job consultants and recruiters have easy access to each other.” Voltero was speaking at a conference titled ‘Student 2 Business Conclave 2011.

Times of India, March 28, 2011
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Skilled manpower requirement at 500K in 5 years: CII Gujarat

Vocational Training

At a time when Gujarat is eyeing a 15 per cent growth rate, the skilled manpower requirement in next five years has been pegged at 500,000. Speaking at the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Gujarat Annual Day Conference on ‘Gujarat: Vocational Education & Training and Skill Development – The Livelihood’, Maheshwar Sahu, principal secretary, Industry and Mines, Government of Gujarat emphasised on skill development.

“Over 1.8 million people employed in the industry and growth is expected at three per cent per annum. Our industry shall require 500,000 skilled manpower in the next five years. A mechanism has been put on a sound footing by setting up of the various skill up gradation centres in partnership with the industry so that we can fulfill the Industry requirements. About 123 centers have already been sanctioned which will cater to the skilled manpower need of the industry,” Sahu added.

The conference also focused on augmentation of infrastructure and strategies for honing human capital.

“We are confident that India would be able to achieve 10 per cent growth and Gujarat 15 per cent growth. But the real challenge would be sustaining this growth rate which needs to work out a growth model depending on the continuity of the progressive policy and augmentation of the infrastructure as well as the strategies for honing the human capital. Services are the largest contributors to the national GDP but still the manufacturing sector is still the largest employer of manpower,” said Yatindra Sharma, immediate past president, CII Gujarat.

Other speakers at the conference included CV Som, chief executive officer, Gujarat Knowledge Society, Dilip Chenoy, managing director and chief executive officer, National Skill Development Corporation, Raj David, chief operating officer – skill development, IL&FS Cluster Development Initiative Ltd, L Balasubramanium, president – school learning solutions, NIIT Ltd and Jeffry Tyler, general manager, Courtyard by Marriott.

Meanwhile, Rajeev Sharma, Associate Professor, Ravi J Mathai Centre for Education Innovation, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) talked about livelihood mapping and studying the employability potential by doing surveys for the industry requirements for the employment.

“There is a strong need of the Institute Industry partnership for providing need based employment,” Sharma added.

Business Standard, March 22, 2011

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Vocational training to youngsters in Urdu speaking areas: Kapil Sibal

Vocational Training

NEW DELHI: Youngsters in Urdu speaking areas across the country may soon be able to get job-oriented training under the proposed national vocational curriculum framework which will be launched this year.

HRD minister Kapil Sibal said linking “rich language” with employment and training will help promotion of the language which is “deeply rooted” to the culture of the country.

The HRD minister has already announced that by this year, government would launch the ambitious National  Vocational Education Qualifications Framework to provide job-oriented courses to students and chart out a flexible education system.

“It is important to link Urdu with employment. If we link Urdu with employment then it will help us promote the language. Urdu is a very rich language and we will do whatever possible to promote it,” Sibal said addressing a seminar on ‘Life of Maulana Azad” here.

“We are going to launch the National Vocational Education Qualifications Framework by 2011 and under it students from Muslim community in certain areas will have the option learning the vocational skills in Urdu,” he said.

Sibal was awarded National Integration award for his “significant contribution” in reforming the education sector in the country.

Various speakers at the function strongly urged Sibal to take effective steps to promote Urdu language in the country.

The function, attended by religious leaders and scholars across the country, was organised by Universal Association for Spiritual Awareness.

In his address, Sibal said his Ministry was going to set up a “round-table for minorities” to examine various problems being faced by the community. However, he did not elaborate on it further.

Talking about the Right to Education Act, Sibal said government was determined ensure education to each and every child of the country. “There will not be any child in the country who will not reach a school by the year 2020.”

The HRD minister also paid tributes to Maulana Azad and said as first education minister he had contributed immensely to the country.

Times of India, March 6,2011

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HRD Ministry constitutes committe for National Vocational Education Qualifications Framework

Vocational Training

The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has constituted a Group of State Ministers for recommending a National Vocational Education Qualifications Framework (NVEQF) and preparing a roadmap for its implementation.

This follows the consensus on the need for such a group arrived at during a meting of State Education Ministers held here on January 20 under the chairmanship of Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal.

An official press release said the committee would include the Ministers of Education (in charge of Vocational Education) of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Bihar, Assam and Mizoram.

The Secretary (School Education & Literacy) will be the convener of the group and the Secretary (Higher Education) its co-convener, the release said.

The Group of Ministers will submit its report by July 31. In order to co-ordinate the drafting of the NVEQF, the HRD Ministry has also constituted a Co-ordination Committee consisting of senior officials from the Ministry as well as the University Grants Commission, the All India Council of Technical Education, the National Institute of Open Schooling, the Central Board of Secondary Education, the National Skill Development Corporation and the Institute of Applied Manpower Research.

The Coordination Committee is mandated to prepare a harmonized approach to the NVEQF by suitably incorporating the recommendations of the Committees constituted through the Sectoral Round Tables. The Co-Ordination Committee is to present its draft to the Group of State Ministers for approval.

The terms of reference of the Committee would be to set common principles and develop guidelines for a nationally recognized qualifications system, covering schools, vocational education institutes and institutes of higher education with qualification ranging from secondary to doctorate level, facilitating international recognition of national standards.

The framework will have a competency based modular approach with provision of credit accumulation and transfer.

The NVEQF will provide vertical and horizontal mobility with multiple entry and exit to the students. There will be full collaboration with sector skill councils (SSCs) and industry for development of quality standards competencies, model curricula, assessment and testing procedures.

The Co-ordination Committee shall submit its draft to the Group of State Ministers by May 31, 2011, the release added.

NetIndian, February 26, 2011

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Govt plans to offer vocational skill training to 50 crore people by 2022

Vocational Training

Centre has evolved a plan to impart training and education in vocational skills to 50 crore people by 2022 to address the critical issue of unemployment, union minister Ashwani Kumar said today.

The central government has also decided to set up an Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research with powers to award degrees, and a Bill for the purpose would be introduced in the ensuing budget session of Parliament, the minister of state for science and technology said.

The minister was addressing the third convocation of Guru Jambeshwar University of Science and Technology in Hisar.

India has a unique opportunity to emerge as a global leader in formulating an inclusive innovation agenda, Kumar said.

“We need to develop innovative ways of applying the results and products of research for finding affordable solutions to national challenges,” he said.

Kumar said that Department of Science and Technology has launched ‘Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research’ (INSPIRE) to attract bright young minds to creative pursuits of science and build a human resource pool for strengthening and expanding science and technology system.

Technology should be used to increase food productivity to meet the demand of a growing population, he said.

Scientists cutting across all disciplines need to work to transform agriculture into climate and resource efficient production system for ensuring food security to the increasing population, Kumar added.

DNA, February 16, 2011

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Kapil Sibal stresses on vocational education in CBSE

Vocational Training

Union human resource development (HRD) minister Kapil Sibal on Tuesday announced reforms in the Central Board of School Education (CBSE) to develop skill sets of students through vocational education. In an interaction with members of the Rotary Club, he emphasised the need to introduce specialised education which will hone students’ skills.

He announced that by May 2011, the board will be divided into ‘academic’ and ‘vocational’. Under the vocational board, the government will introduce a national vocational framework for students from Std IX to XII. This will consist of eight levels of a range of credit-based vocational courses. A number of courses like animation, paramedical, automobile, hospitality, etc will be offered under such a set-up.

Sibal said that he had a few meetings with experts from the automobile sector.

There are 150 sectors in the automobile industry in which students can specialise. We will create a separate syllabus for such specialised courses,” he said. He added that he was in talks with state governments to implement a similar project in state boards. “In Maharashtra, I have already had two meetings with state ministers over this issue,” he said.

Information is empowerment, and technology should enable everyone to access this information. There should be a free flow of this information. We cannot impose charges on it, because if a student is unable to access it, the state would be acting against the Right to Education,” he said.

DNA, February 9, 2011

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Now, vocational education from Class VIII

Vocational Training

The state has taken the initiative to introduce vocational education at the secondary school level from Class VIII. The move is a part of the national drive to provide vocational training to 550 million students by 2022.

A few months ago Higher and Technical Education Minister Rajesh Tope had announced setting up vocational university in the state besides coming up with a policy on vocational education. As a step forward, the government on January 27 set up an 11-member committee headed by Swati Mujumdar, director of Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning, for recommendations on various initiatives for vocational education in the state.

The committee has been assigned the responsibilities such as setting up vocational university where under and postgraduate vocational courses could be taught, reviewing the present syllabus of vocational courses at Class XI and XII level, providing lateral and vertical mobility to students of vocational courses, recommending ways of accreditation for vocational courses and introducing vocational courses at secondary school level,” stated the resolution issued by assistant secretary Seema Dhamdhere.

When contacted, chairperson of the committee Swati Mujumdar said there was a need to introduce vocational courses at Class VIII level. “To do away with the drop out rate, it is necessary to give vocational training to the students that will provide them employment opportunities,” she said.

She said, “The World Bank Report 2006 (Skill Development in India, The Vocational Education and Training System) indicates that employers prefer students with general education skills in addition to vocational skills. Therefore, to make students more market worthy, curriculum in schools or institutions providing vocational education and training must emphasise on equipping students with general academic skills which may include problem solving, analysing, business development and marketing skills.”

An independent vocational university with industry participation is also the need of the hour. With an independent university, students will be able do undergraduate courses that are required and designed by the industry. The present vocational courses can be affiliated to the new varsity,” said Mujumdar. “The first meeting of the committee will be held in a week,” she added.

Indian Express, February 6, 2011

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INDIA: Expanding private and vocational education

Private schools, Vocational Training

With a slew of parliamentary bills in the pipeline aimed at revolutionising the higher education sector, and increasing participation from international education providers, 2011 may well turn out to be a watershed year for higher education in India – in particular making the playing field clearer for private players and increasing vocational provision.

Continue Reading »

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GoM on suggesting ways to strengthen vocational education

Vocational Training

New Delhi: A group of state education Ministers will be constituted to suggest ways for strengthening vocational education at all levels and develop a broad consensus on the contours of the proposed National Vocational Education Qualifications Framework (NVEQF).

The decision was taken at a meeting here to discuss policy reforms on vocational education and put in place a framework for the purpose.

HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, who chaired the meeting, told reporters on its sidelines that their aim is to frame up NVEQF by May-June this year.

“It is important that State education ministers support us in our endeavour,” he said, adding, “If we want to prepare 50 crore children for employment, which is a ‘national priority’, then state and centre has to work together and industry should also cooperate.”

India’s national skill development policy aims to train 50 crore people by 2022.

This was the second meeting with the state governments on the issue. The first meeting held a month back, failed to make any headway as a handful of states had turned up.

Today’s meeting was attended by 17 State Ministers and Secretaries, heads of UGC, AICTE, IGNOU, NCERT, NUEPA, CBSE and NIOS and representatives from National Skill Development Corporation and from industry associations ASSOCHAM, CII and FICCI.

The vocational framework would set common principles and guidelines for a nationally recognized qualification system, covering schools, vocational education institutes and institutes of higher education with qualifications ranging from secondary to doctorate level, leading to international recognition of national standards.

“The framework will be a competency based modular approach with provision for credit accumulation and transfer. Students would have the scope for vertical and horizontal mobility with multiple entry and exits,” said a statement issued by the Ministry.

A view emerged that the educational institutions could allow its premises to be used after working hours for skill development, the statement said.

Earlier, the HRD Ministry had also held consultations with several sectors on the vocational education curriculum framework.

PTI

Zee News, January 20 2011

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Research Paper: Governance of Technical Education in India Key Issues, Principles, and Case Studies

Vocational Training

Edited by Andreas Blom and Jannette Cheong

ABSTRACT: Tertiary education, and in particular technical and engineering education, is critical to ndia’s aspirations of strengthening its reputation as a major competitive player in the global knowledge economy. The system is huge and complex, and there is a consensus that reforms are imperative. Issues of fair access and affordable participation in higher education are critical if India is to empower its people with educational opportunities that allow individual potential to be fulfilled, and allow more Indian graduates opportunities for employment and to compete in an international arena.

T o read more click here.

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