Indian education sector has made huge progress since independence. The number of out of school children decreased from 25 million in 2003 to an estimated 8.1 million in 2009, says the World Bank report. We have made progress in terms of increasing primary education attendance rate and expanding literacy to approximately two thirds of the population. India’s improved higher education system is often cited as one of the main contributors to the economic rise of India. Despite this progress in higher education, employability remains a key issue and an area of deep concern. This is largely because of skills mismatch, which is due to difference in curriculum and industry’s demand.
India has the largest population of young people, which gives us the scope to address the global needs but first we have to cater to our own needs and demands to produce qualified and skilled professionals for, which vocationalisation is the way. Vocationalisation of education is one of the essential constituents to make the education reachable and acceptable among masses. We have created many bodies and taken many initiatives like NSDC, NIOS and through CBSE to bridge this gap but still we are lagging behind. This is because acceptance of informal education is not up to the mark, which is required to improve the status. I was talking to some school principals where they stressed on the fact that urban parents demand vocational education at higher level whereas for rural student secondary education is meaningful with vocational curriculum. In this issue we tried to highlight the vocationalisation of secondary education and policy journey and various initiatives taken by the governments to make it reachable to the students along with concerns and challenges. National Vocational Qualification Framework has been announced by the Honorable Minister of HRD Shri Kapil Sibal last year and expected to be ready by this year.
Bollywood too has been supportive in creating awareness and acceptance, through impactful movies like ‘Taare Zameen Par’, ‘3 idiots’ and ‘Stanley ka Dabba’. Our social stratum differentiates between formal and informal education, which needs to be addressed first along with making our education robust through effective policy implementation. Amole Gupte, creative director, actor and writer, through his movies has tried to explain and showed the reality of society’s mindset in India. In an interview with us, he highlighted the need of vocational studies in the education system so that children can take up the career of their own interest and convert work to play. Like Benjamin Franklin says, “Hide not your talents, they for use were made. What’s a Sun-dial in the shade?”