India needs a radical reform of its school education. Mainstreaming of vocational education and skill development within the school system is the way forward. A boy in a village who is not doing well in the standard curriculum should be able to graduate with dignity from his school with mathematics , language and basic computer skills for this digital age as compulsory subjects; and optional subjects such as horticulture, animal husbandry, plumbing, welding or nursing.
Moreover, in these subjects, the knowledge and skill levels should be globally competitive. Then young people at 18 would have skills which are in demand and would find it easier to get jobs. They would also have higher self-esteem and confidence, which are so essential for success. But this is not going to be easy.
The existing educational establishment does not have the capacity to drive this transition. It would also need massive public investment. A new set of vocational teachers for specific trades and skills would need to be trained and appointed. State-of-the-art facilities, including equipment, for such vocational education would need to be put in place.
Elets Technomedia and Telangana State Intermediate Education Department organized ‘Junior School Studies Conclave’ on Redefining the Intermediate Education through Innovations, Integrations of Technology and upskilling. The webinar was attended by some eminent speakers from the sector.
Syed Omer Jaleel, Secretary and Commissioner, Department of Intermediate Education, Government of Telangana said “We introduced a new agency to take care of the pre and post exam schedules. All the process was conducted online this year. We hired an IT team, which resolved our issues which conducted last year. With the new team we resolved our issues. We even introduced ICR to improve our checking standards.”
He also said “We identified one lecture from every college and provided them training. These lectures found students who had some issues and interacted with them to overcome their fear. We even identified physiologists and their number and names given in the newspapers so that they can be contacted by students.”
Over new programmes, he said “We are starting new programs for students’ trainings. We are focused on mental and well being of students. Vocational training for students started in 40 different sectors in 22 courses. We have industry partners and these students will be given one year apprenticeship. We even will add 10 new courses of vocational courses.”
He also said “the state govt has signed MoU with certain firms to revive vocational courses. The govt is trying to develop vocational labs and will be starting new centre of excellence in the state soon.”
Over COVID pandemic, he said “We had prepared our plan of action to deal COVID crisis. We have started the e-lectures and provided the syllabus online. We planned to telecast all the subjects through TSAT. A part of syllabus will be done through online and to cover time we will run classes in shifts.”
Over re-opening of colleges, he said we have suggested to start the colleges after August 15, 2020. We have joined hands with Skill ministry to provide training and placements to our students.
He also said “We suggested the first year classes can be taken in the afternoon shifts and second year in morning shifts. We have said to combine some classes for first and second year students. We have also asked the govt to reduce some holidays to cover up the academic time we lost. We have also submitted that some part of the syllabus must be covered as online assignment to students. Children can assess those materials through any online mode. We are hoping to cover the entire syllabus before end of March 2021.”
Over well being of students, he said “Special focus was given on social and mental well-being of students. We identified student counselors. We provide them two-day training on how to deal with students. It was a successful programme. Just before the exams, we identified clinical psychologists and notified their names and contact details in newspapers. They received over 5000 calls after the exams. The psychologists discussed their issues and tried to calm them. We are even developing a programme for counselors. “
Shrikant Sinha, Chief Executive Officer at Telangana Academy for Skill and Knowledge, Govt of Telangana said “The education will change a lot due to the pandemic. We are exploring new options for education. We must focus on job creators. We need to provide training students to become an entrepreneur. We must re-think to change the way of education in the country. We need to have value based education.”
“People, Planet and Profit are the new things in education. We need to provide digital training to our children. The industry is changing a lot and we must prepare our students for it, especially in tier II and III cities” he added.
Over the pandemic, he said “Before the COVID things were different. We need to work with organizations to create new programmes. We started ‘Root to wings’ with polytechnics with mechanical students. Last year, we launched Vaccine development programme. We are all heading towards a contactless and digital society. The new normal will be automation.”
He also said “We need to look where there are jobs and concentrate on job creation trainings. We need to work on the communication of students.”
Most of the industry is impacted and it’s for a small period. The pandemic has created acceleration of technology and automation. We need to reskill, upskill in coming days, he added.
Lastly, he added “we need to provide communication skills to students. Content is the king. Students must not give up and must prepare for success. Preparing is the key.”
Parmod Kumar, State Education Officer, Govt of Haryana said “We started the e-learning from April 15. We are providing content through TSAT also. We are reaching our students in every part of the state. We provided quality content for students. The e-learning is a one-way platform. We are hoping to start our schools soon.”
For upgrading students, he said “We need to identify 21st century skills and teach our students. We have introduced some new courses with the help of MSMEs. We are running 23 vocational courses for our intermediate students. From automobile to medical to agriculture, we are providing many new courses.”
He also said “The govt is starting new food and fruit parks in the state. We are equipping our students so that if they want to start their business they can start. Many more industries are coming up in the state. Agriculture is not the only option for students. “
Over new courses, We have four vocational universities. These universities are offering us teacher training programmes and a new syllabus and their needs. The connection between schools and industry is must, he said.
“We need to find courses which can provide jobs to students. We need to explore new ways to provide jobs to students”, he added.
“We have started communication courses for students. We need to turn the crisis to opportunity. We are using technology to teach communication to students. We need to prepare our students for interviews also. In the coming three years 80 pc of professions will be vanished,” he said.