Friday, July 01, 2011

Vocational studies to get new curriculum in October, 2011

Faced with the problem of school dropouts and dearth of skilled labour, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) plans to finalise by October a new curriculum for vocational studies in the country. The National Vocational Education Qualifications Framework (NVEQF) will put in place a nationally recognised qualification system, covering higher secondary schools, vocational education institutes, polytechnics, colleges and institutes of higher education.

For this, the All-India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) has identified eight skill areas for immediate attention and has involved the private sector for devising curriculum, testing, evaluation and certification. These eight areas are automobile, hospitality and tourism, security and energy, retail, media and entertainment, information technology, construction, and financial services, banking and insurance.

AICTE has already held meetings with the various stakeholders in the automobile, information technology, hospitality, media and entertainment and construction sectors and curriculum has already been prepared for the first three sectors. “Many students drop out of school or are not interested in regular formal education. Some fail their senior secondary exams while others have to work to support their families. In some cases, there are no formal colleges near their homes. The framework will benefit them,” said AICTE Chairman SS Mantha.

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, 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.

With dropout rates nearing 40% in Classes IX-XII, Mantha added that vocational education would offer competency-based skills and help students find employment. Representatives from the industry chambers, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) are also helping the ministry develop the framework.

“The ministry identified eight sectors for white collar jobs and a group of 12 state education ministers is examining the issues that may need sorting out at the state level to implement AICTE’s ambitious scheme. The group is expected to submit its report by July,” said Shalini Sharma, Head - Higher Education, Confederation of Indian Industry.

Source: The Financial Express, July 1, 2011
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