Education and training (VET – Vocational Education and Training) is the process of developing an individual’s talent through trade knowledge, acquisition of practical skills, and orientation to technologies, knowledge, and understanding associated with occupations in the various sectors of economic and social life.
Compared to other educational systems, Vocational Education and Training (VET) is playing a significant role in the changing global environment in which the trend of Skills-driven societies coupled with a declining workforce is transforming the employment landscape for graduates and postgraduates.
It is mainly the availability of employment in the market in its various forms that makes learners choose their areas of skills and study, and the lack of employment opportunities for conventional graduates has caused the shift in focus to the skill-based, industry-oriented world of learning.
In addition to this, the inability of our youth to integrate the knowledge they have acquired into their daily lives or generate valuable employment is causing them to question the very nature of the education system.
We should therefore rethink the purposes and outcomes of our education as a society in order to achieve the goals that we envision for it.
It is a well-known fact that science, technology, and socio-economic advancements have contributed to a paradigm shift in the essence of imparting education. A variety of factors, such as growing competitiveness, the slowdown in the economy, poverty, unemployment, population imbalances, and political unrest, are putting tremendous pressure on both the authorities and the average citizen. Our society has become increasingly aware of the importance of education, and more specifically ‘relevant education as a way to tackle these issues in our society.
The National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020) in India calls upon the Indian education institutes to make vocational education mandatory for all students from class VI, so as to encourage them at an early age to opt for a route which is vocational & therefore this will allow them to provide jobs rather than a job seeker through the gig economy.
Consequently, nowadays, Vocational Education & Training for Skill Development has become an essential part of our general education system, leading to establishing connections between education, the workforce, and the community.
In the latest ‘Future of Jobs’ report from the World Economic Forum, 50% of all employees will require reskilling by 2025. Moreover, also by 2025, 97 million new jobs will be created and 85 million jobs will be lost as humans are replaced by machines. The pandemic has only accelerated this progress, according to most commentators. In Singapore and Switzerland, 65 percent of students opt to pursue a vocational pathway, and in Germany, 48 percent opt to pursue vocational education, while only 5 percent of students in India pursue vocational education.
The importance of quality, standardization, and recognition must also be considered when dealing with the growing issue of unemployment, so vocational courses should be competency-based and modular, allowing for multi-point entry and exit. As well, it is important to establish links between vocational courses at the +2 level as well as courses at the university level so that the industries utilizing this worker supply contribute to the design of the course, development of the curriculum, training of the faculty/students, and certification of the courses in order to sustain and find the students market-ready.
A grave need seems to exist for state governments to be made aware of the importance of skill training and vocational training which is crucial for providing opportunities for vertical mobility to students who have completed +2 in a particular stream, and then they have the option to specialize and pursue diplomas or degrees. Increasing their chances of getting value-added jobs and better opportunities for employment will greatly benefit them. As a result, they will also be able to identify the career choices they want to make at an early stage and realize their potential at that point in time.
It is important to integrate Vocational Education and Vocational Training since the Skill Development sector is fragmented, unregulated, underdeveloped both at the national and state levels. It can be very beneficial for students to build skills that will be useful in a corporate setting if the concept of skill-based training is introduced to them. There is no doubt that future employers will always favor students who are able to pick things up quickly and efficiently, and only industry-based education programs can provide students with these opportunities.
In a skill-based education system, the development of personal management skills and soft skills is a significant component, since these skills are not only developed in the classroom but also in the real world outside of it. Skills such as planning, managing, delegating, and being proactive toward completing a task are part of this category.
The ability to step beyond what they learn in their textbooks and what they learn in their classrooms gives them the chance to discover & learn more things beyond what they learn in their textbooks and what they learn in their classrooms, at the onset of their teenage years.
Another great benefit of introducing Life Skills to children is that it gives them the opportunity to select from a very early age, and that is a significant advantage.
The importance of life skills is evident in the development of both individuals and organizations since they are essential to the development of the former since they enable the latter to acquire abilities and skills such as team spirit, inquisitiveness, creativity, empathy, coordination, assertiveness, and many others. Thus, this process is vital in helping children build a strong foundation, both on the educational and career fronts, for a bright future.
A greater emphasis should be placed on improving and facilitating quality in skills training Vocational Education in schools in India. In this way, students can develop both life skills and industry-specific skills while in school.
Authored by: Ms. Monica Bahl, Chief Executive Officer, Beauty & Wellness Sector Skill Council, is a service Professional with 25+ years of expérience in leadership roles involving strategic planning, organization building, P&L Management, with 15 years of multi-functional expérience in Business Management & Development.
A visionary with verifiable year after year progress in achieving growth objectives of the start-up projects & in making the projects successful. She holds a Master’s degree in CRM & E (Community Resource Management & Extension) from Lady Irwin Collège, Delhi University with distinction & 2 nd position in the University. She has extensively worked across India, South East Asia & Gulf Region to establish &operate brands.