Industry aligned trade skills for secondary school children

Ram KolavennuRam Kolavennu, VP – Human Resources, IT & School Projects, speaks on various policies to help secondary school children develop specialised industry aligned trade skills,generating diverse career opportunities for them after the completion of formal education.

Vocationalisation of education in schools and colleges was launched by the government in the late 1980s and is being emphasised aggressively by the present government. In what way has this initiative helped the students in bettering their lives?

While there have been discussions way back in 1980s on vocational education, there was minimal traction at this being incorporated at school level. The momentum picked up at the turn of the millennium. A specific scheme was institutionalized at the school level in 2011 and later revised in 2014 with the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Skill Development. The revision was made to incorporate all schemes under the umbrella of Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA).

The primary objectives of the centrally sponsored scheme of Vocationalisation of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education are to increase employability of youth through demand-driven, industry aligned courses and give them multi-entry multi-exit learning opportunities. Interoperability is also a vital part of these objectives that allows the youth to explore alternate means of livelihood after completing secondary education. These provisions have been made to ensure reduction in dropout rate at the secondary level and fill the gap between employability and education.

What is LabourNet’s role in creating better opportunities for school children?

LabourNet has played a pivotal role in policy development pertaining to vocational education in schools. During the pilot project conducted in Haryana to develop the National Vocational Education Qualifications Framework (NVEQF), LabourNet was involved in setting up vocational education at schools at the grass root level. The team ensured that industry aligned training was imparted to secondary school students by developing the right curriculum and infrastructure. The entire training program facilitated in linking apprenticeship to job opportunities that ensured industry-led, practice-oriented, effective and efficient mode of training.

Left : Students from GSSS Pehova Hryana is all set for industrial visit Right : Students from GSSS Silana Hryana during mehndi completion

Left : Students from GSSS Pehova Hryana is all set for industrial visit & Right : Students from GSSS Silana Hryana during Mehndi competition

What are the key challenges faced in implementing programs in schools and how does LabourNet tackle them?

Policy level changes are always challenging and have long drawn processes attached to them. The work that LabourNet has been doing in training school children has also helped in shaping these policies. The fact that Dr.Gayathri Vasudevan, CEO LabourNet, is a part of the core decision making group aids in receiving timely inputs on policy changes and introduction of new ones. As a result, LabourNet is able to realign its implementation process and streamline it in an effective manner. Through streamlining, we have been able to scale up our program in other geographies. Our partnership with NSDC as leading Vocational Training partner has also helped in driving these programs in various schools across India.

GSSC interview

Students from GSSS Jind participating in job interview

What will be your suggestion to the government to make the current scheme for vocationalisation of education better and more appropriate for the future market demands?

In my opinion, choice of trade, introduced in the form of a vocational course in schools, should be demand driven. More work is needed in this area in order to align demand with skills imparted. Moreover,adequate focus is necessary to ensurethat right infrastructure is created in schools for effectiveness of the training programs. Vocational education should be made mandatory in schools across states to cater to future market demands. There should be meaningful linkage between traditional education and vocational education to add more value and encourage enrolments for such programs. BVoc, or Bachelor of Vocational course as a degree program, should be pursued more seriously as the curriculum is practical and industry aligned.

Do you have any plans to diversify your activities for schools in future? If yes, how do you plan to do so?

School forms the first place where impact can be created. Since LabourNet believes in creating a positive social impact through education, employment and entrepreneurship, our model becomes more effective through early intervention. We have bigger projects in the pipeline in addition to vocational education including Sports, Physical Education, Counselling, Soft & Life skills, to name a few. We are also looking at diversifying into related areas to create more impact through livelihood enablement.

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