Vocational Education `“ A Very Odd Name!


    By: G.S.Oinam
    CEO of London based skills and an expert team member of NVEQF India – invite me one day and  said, students doesn’t turn out for vocational courses even ensured them job placement / linkage after training. Perhaps, his opinion may be an experience of big cities or type of industrial training courses may not attract to the students. Vocational education is a very odd name; change the name into “Professional Training Courses “ to attract students in a fashionable way; this is my finding and suggestion after studying South Korean experience and comparison with Indian experience. Job seekers are also looking future prospects and careers. ITI /ITC and 17 Ministries are providing short term vocational and technical training courses along with stipend for workers in some courses. The Modular Employable Skills (MES) scheme is being offered under the Skill Development Initiative Scheme (SDIS). The Ministry of Labour and Employment undertook the development of a new strategic framework, namely the MES, for skill development for early school leavers and existing workers, especially in the unorganised sector in close consultation with industry, micro enterprises in the unorganised sector, State Governments, experts and academia. Government target for vocational education is mostly level 1 & 2 courses. For such type of courses, trainers must go to the work place where group of workers are working to provide them skills development programme. For example, Fevicol Company does less advertisement Fevicol product in the newspapers. Company executives will go to the field to organise programme to promote their products where groups of carpenters and plumbers are working. Because, majority of the carpenters, plumbers do not read newspapers. But, they do advertise a product “Fevi quick” to the newspapers and TV because most of the users of the product are readers of newspapers. 2nd example, Frankfinn is a well-known vocational institution for hospitality and air hostess. They are providing diploma course for cabin crew, airport ground staffs, hotel management with job assurance and placement facilities. Change of name into professional course has attracts the students in hospitality and nursing profession. However, job market of civil aviation industry in India is declined—many of the airlines run loss business. Many Nursing institutions in Manipur are also providing level 3 & 4 diploma courses. Most of Manipuri nursing practitioners at outside states have come back to Manipur after getting experience – they don’t like to settle outside state (mostly girls) unless government job or better perks and facilities are provided. However, fresher nurses are still going to outside states for job. Now, state will face additional burden of hospital job unemployment in Manipur unless more hospital and clinics are open.

    Skills development is only namesake and beginning in the state—state policy makers must prepare better policy frame work base on scope and labour market available for job creation. For example, if state has potential for job creation in agriculture, horticulture, fishery, commerce etc—skills development programme and vocational courses shall be given due important on the above subjects matter to enhance skills of the existing local work forces and to meet the requirement of new skills workers on the specific field. National vocational qualifications frame work is general frame work and it is base on all Indian contexts. Qualifications frame work and specific subject has to be identified by State Councils for Vocational Training concern subject to local resource available and have been established to assist the NCVT both knowledge, practices and attitude.  For example, ‘Kaona Phak’ mat making training can be successful for self help groups and large scale production as well. Singapore had developed a “comprehensive vocational training infrastructure,” forging strong linkages between education institutions and training agencies. The National Skills Recognition System is Singapore’s national framework for establishing work performance standards, identifying job competencies and certifying skills acquisition. It is implemented by the Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board. To assess the workers, assessment centres were set up. Workers can be certified at centralised assessment centres, workplace or a combination of both. In Hong Kong too, the provision of public sector training has been strategic. Vocational and technical schools received serious attention in Japan even during the 19th century (Yamamoto, 1994).  The “Taiwan Miracle” owes to its system of VET. In UK, the national framework covers general secondary and tertiary education, VET, work-based learning and prior learning. Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) describes the process of giving formal recognition to learning that derives from personal experiences often gained in employment or voluntary work situations. NVQs are also part of ‘Modern Apprenticeships’ which are funded through work-based learning. In several countries of the region many academic secondary schools that concentrated for a long period on preparing students for university entry, tried to become multi-purpose institutions to serve a broad spectrum of students and needs, including specific types of occupational training.  In addition, various types and models of specialised secondary training institutions have been created in several countries to meet different middle level manpower needs.

    However, in Manipur, members of skills experts committee are all bureaucrats. Manipur has wasted crores of public money spending outside states on vocational training courses like spa, skin care, hair style, nail cutting training etc. without considering importance, priority and benefits. Our babus knows only how much to spend but they don’t care how much to achieved. Establishment of more vocational training centre / institutions in Manipur is the best option. However, courses should be restructured based on labor demand. Ensuring the vocational stream is not dead-end – by allow vocational students to proceed to higher education and linking up vocational schools with specific industries to ensure that curriculum and outputs match industry needs. Determinants of Quality in Skill Training are faculty, curriculum, infrastructure, evaluation of student learning, government and administration, and industrial / farm partnership.

    People are expecting more from the newly formed Manipur Skills Development Society, Government of Manipur. The role of Manipur Skills Development Society must be focus on 1) Identification of skill development needs 2) Development of a sector skill development plan and maintain skill inventory; 3) Determining skills/competency standards and qualifications.4) Participation in affiliation, accreditation, examination and certification.6) Plan and execute training of trainers and 7) Promotion of academies of excellence.

    Industrial skills training are usually conducted by the respective industrial unit; however, recent recession in India attracts the experience person or skills people by recruiters consequently, farms want to hire employees already trained so that the cost and time of employees training can be saved. However, your professional training pass certificate is not the only criteria for your job. You will be require further training after recruitment at least 2-3 months accordingly company management style – reputed company has own management styles. For example, if you are recruited for hospitality job in a 5 star hotel, you have to under go training for 3 months simply to say “welcome to our restaurant.” After transferring your job from one 5 star hotel to another 5 star hotels, another training programme will be conducted simply to say with smile “welcome to our restaurant” to follows company own style.

    Taiwan and South Korea are the most experience and successful countries of vocational education in the world. For students who do not wish a college education, vocational schools specializing in fields such as technology, agriculture or finance are available, in which the students are employed right after graduation. Around 30% of high school students are in vocational high schools. To make vocational high schools more attractive, in April 2007 the Korean government changed the name of vocational high schools into professional high schools. Korean vocational high schools offer programmes in five fields: agriculture, technology/engineering, commerce/business, maritime/fishery, and home economics. What are home economics? It is similar to Home Science in India. In Ireland it is called home economics—scientific and social. This subject is known as Family and Consumer Sciences in USA. Students are trained in stitching, knitting, textile, designing, cooking, money management, family relationship, nutrition and child care and also given social lessions. Unfortunately, Manipur University does not open Home Science Department.

    The NVEQF India is a framework on international lines to link various qualifications and set common principles and guidelines for nationally recognized qualification system to monitor, manage creating the curriculum for Vocational Education in India. Currently the Vocational Training under NVEQF is provided in some courses like, Automobile, IT, ITES and Telecom Industry. In general the NVEQ (National Vocational Education Qualification) are work based courses/awards designed to enhance the skills of people at work. These courses are based on the competency level of participants and hence, the participants should prove their talents at work. Eleven countries presently have NVQFs including Australia, Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Switzerland, India and UK. This makes a person to choose the appropriate level of diploma/degree/certificate courses, thereby enhancing their knowledge.

    The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has recently hosted a conference focusing on the development of models for delivering skills training to people in the North Eastern region of India, comprising eight states. The conference, held in Guwahati in the state of Assam, particularly focused on the relationship between skills and migration and the need to generate demand for skilled workers in the region. Manipal-City & Guilds’ Rajat Khawas was among the speakers. The Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, has emphasised the need for India to close the gap between skills supply and demand, characterising the country’s steps towards skills development to date as “rather tentative”. Speaking at a meeting of the National Council on Skill Development, the Prime Minister called for all Ministers to scale up their skill development programmes substantially and propose ambitious skilling initiatives in the 12th five year plan. A new study by talent management firm DDI has found that India’s business leaders out-perform their Chinese counterparts in the critical skills required for successful leadership. In particular, they appear to be better at spotting emerging talent and in making leadership selection decisions. The survey spans 2,600 companies in 74 countries.

    The Indian PM had declared on June 2010 for setting up of 1,600 new industrial training institutes and polytechnics, 10,000 new vocational schools and 50,000 new skill development centres to ensure 10 million students get vocational training. Currently, 17 ministries / departments deliver vocational educational training programs to 2.8 million people. There are 9,583 schools offering 150 vocational courses of two-year duration in broad areas of primary, secondary and tertiary sectors of the economy. In addition, the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) imparts vocational education in 80 courses in various areas- agriculture, business and commerce, humanities, engineering and technology, home science and health and para medical skills, taking the total enrolment in vocational education courses of all these schools to roughly 6,00,000. The framework will have 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. This effort will bridge the gap and give employment to a large number of students with a handsome salary, HRD minister said. Providing skilled people to labour-intensive sectors like automobile, construction and manufacturing will reduce unemployment in India. CBSC schools have included vocational courses under NVEF since 2011. While 220 million students are in schools, less than 15 million are expected to pursue higher education, and better vocational education will improve the chances of employment for the dropouts.

    South Korean Experience:

    The Korean vocational education and training (VET) system is heralded as one of the key factors contributing to the country’s past economic growth. VET has played an important role in developing a skilled labor force during Korea’s economic development. The vocational education and training (VET) system in Korea has been evaluated to supply skilled human capital needed for rapid economic development at the right time at the right place. However, the status of the VET track is weakening in Korea as higher education becomes more important and general education becomes more attractive for students and their parents complying with continuous economic development. The declining status of VET is not only of importance to Korea but also to most developed countries.

    Statistics demonstrate the success of South Korea’s national education programs. In 1945 the adult literacy rate was estimated at 22 percent; by 1970 adult literacy was 87.6 percent and, by the late 1980s, sources estimated it at around 93 percent. Although only primary school (grades one through six) was compulsory, percentages of age-groups of children and young people enrolled in primary, secondary, and tertiary level schools were equivalent to those found in industrialized countries, including Japan. Approximately 4.8 million students in the eligible age-group were attending primary school in 1985. The percentage of students going on to optional middle school the same year was more than 99 percent. Approximately 34 percent, one of the world’s highest rates of secondary-school graduates attended institutions of higher education in 1987, a rate similar to Japan’s (about 30 percent) and exceeding Britain’s (20 percent).

    Social emphasis on education was not without its problems, as it tended to accentuate class differences. In the late 1980s, a college degree was considered necessary for entering the middle class; there were no alternative pathways of social advancement, with the possible exception of a military career, outside higher education. People without a college education, including skilled workers with vocational school backgrounds, often were treated as second-class citizens by their white-collar, college-educated managers, despite the importance of their skills for economic development. Intense competition for places at the most prestigious universities—the sole gateway into elite circles—promoted, like the old Confucian system, a sterile emphasis on rote memorization in order to pass secondary school and college entrance examinations. Particularly after a dramatic expansion of college enrollments in the early 1980s, South Korea faced the problem of what to do about a large number of young people kept in school for a long time, usually at great sacrifice to themselves and their families, and then faced with limited job opportunities because their skills were not marketable.

    Most observers agree that South Korea’s spectacular progress in modernization and economic growth since the Korean War is largely attributable to the willingness of individuals to invest a large amount of resources in education, the improvement of “human capital.” The traditional esteem for the educated man, now extend to scientists, technicians, and others working with specialized knowledge. Highly educated technocrats and economic planners could claim much of the credit for their country’s economic successes since the 1960s. Scientific professions were generally regarded as the most prestigious by South Koreans in the 1980s.

    Vocational education system around the world:

    The South Korean system of vocational education is designed from high school to associate degree (junior collage) to graduation, then master / doctoral in university. Students have the option to continue general class or vocational class after passing junior high school by entrance test or join in general degree course after passing associate degree in vocational or junior collage (senior secondary level in India)

    The Japanese system may have the simplest design. Students completing basic education go to general secondary education, and from there they either enter firms that provide entry-level training or go on to tertiary education.
    • The North American system has no “streaming” until after secondary education and it relies on post-secondary education to facilitate transition to work. Students completing secondary education go to community colleges and polytechnic institutes (which provide vocational technical instruction) for short courses, and to universities, which provide both general and professional training.

    • The French system streams students into vocational courses at the secondary level. Students in vocational courses are prepared for entry to the labor market, and those in the humanistic scientific streams are prepared for higher education.

    • The German system is based on a long tradition of apprenticeships. For a (diminishing) majority of secondary school students, instruction consists of school-based general instruction and firm-based occupation-specific training (the “dual” system). The system, regulated by guilds, has a set of qualifications that provides broad equivalency between graduates of the academic and the dual subsystems.

    • The Latin American training system is a hybrid of the French and German models. For students completing basic education: (a) it relies on autonomous vocational training institutes for those proceeding to the labor market, (b) on general (humanistic-scientific) education at secondary level for those proceeding to tertiary education, and (c) on school-based vocational education for others.

    • The Australian system allows transitions between the vocational and tertiary education systems. Employers play a key role in the management of the vocational system.

    • The Indian system could be said to resemble most closely the Latin American model.


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