Monica Bahl, Chief Executive Officer, Beauty & Wellness Sector Skill Council, is a service Professional with 25+ years of expérience in leadership roles involving strategic planning, organisation building, P&L Management, with 15 years of multi-functional expérience in Business Management & Development. A visionary with verifiable year after year progress in achieving growth objectives of the start-up projects & in making the projects successful.
Vocational Education & Training (VET) refers to developing an individual’s skills involving trade knowledge and acquisition of practical skills, orientation of technologies, know-how and understanding related to occupations in the various sectors of economic and social life. Vocational Education and Training (VET) plays its part effectively in the changing global environment where emerging era of Skills-driven society & declining workforce defines the employment possibilities for graduates and postgraduates of general subjects. It is the availability of employment in the market that makes the learners choose their areas of skills & study and lack of employment opportunities to conventional graduates has led to the shifting of focus on the skill based, industry-oriented learning.
The inability for our youth to apply what they have learnt to improve their daily life or generate gainful employment is causing them to question the very essence of the education system.
Hence, it is imperative for us as a society to rethink what the objectives or outcomes of our education should be.
The rapid advances in science, technology, and socio-economic advancements have led to a paradigm shift in the essence of imparting education. While elements such as growing competitiveness, the slowdown in the economy, poverty, unemployment, population imbalances and political unrest are putting tremendous pressure on the authorities as well as the average citizen. The importance of education and especially ‘relevant education’ is becoming increasingly important as a means to tackle these issues in our society.
India’s National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020) directs the education institutes to make vocational education mandatory for all the students starting class VI onwards, so as to prompt them at an early age to opt for a career of their choice which is skill-based & in the process this will enable them to become a job giver rather than a job seeker through Gig Economy.
Thus, in this present era, Vocational Education & Training for Skill Development has become an integral part of our general education system, leading to establishing new relationships between education, the world of workforce and community as a whole.
According to the latest ‘Future of Jobs’ report from The World Economic Forum, by 2025 50% of all employees will need to be re-skilled. Moreover, also by 2025, the same research predicts that 97 million new jobs will emerge and 85 million will be displaced by a shift in labour between humans and machines. Most commentators believe that the pandemic has only accelerated this progress. According to OECD data, in Singapore and Switzerland, 65 percent of students choose to pursue a vocational pathway, and in Germany 48 percent of all the students opt for vocational education, as compared to only 5 percent students in India pursuing Vocational Education.
It is also imperative to consider quality, standardization & recognition, keeping in view the growing problem of unemployment, thus vocational courses in schools should be competency-based and in modular form with allowance of multi-point entry/exit. There is also a need to establish linkage between vocational courses at the +2 level as well as courses at the university level so that the industries engaging this workforce contributes in designing of the course, development of the curriculum, training of faculty/students and certification of the courses in order to sustain & find the students market ready.
There seems a grave need to sensitize state governments on the importance of skill training/vocational education in the context of providing vertical mobility pathway to the students who complete +2 in a particular stream should be able to specialize and obtain diplomas & degrees. This will help them greatly in getting value added jobs and better employment opportunities. This will also help them identifying the carrer choices they want to make at an early stage itself and realising their potential.The integration of Vocational Education and Vocational Training is critical since the Skill Development sector is fragmented, unregulated and under-developed both at National and State level.It can be helpful for students to build skills that will be useful in corporate settings, if they are introduced to the idea of skill-based training. Future employers will always be more likely to hire students who are able to pick things up quickly and efficiently, and only industry-based education systems can provide students with these opportunities.
Developing personal management skills and soft skills is an important component of a skill-based education system, as these skills are not just developed in the classroom, but also in the world outside of it. These skills include planning, managing, delegating, and being proactive toward completing a task.
Having the opportunity of exploring & learning more things beyond what they learn in their textbooks and what they learn in their classrooms gives them the opportunity at the beginning of their teenage years to explore & learn more things.
One of the other benefits of introducing Life skill to children is that they are given the freedom to choose from a very young age.
Life skills are critical to the development of both individuals and organizations since they enable them to acquire skills such as team spirit, inquisitiveness, creativity, trustworthiness, sympathy, co-ordination, assertiveness and many others.In this sense, a process such as this is a very important component of helping children to build a strong foundation both on the educational as well as the career fronts for a successful future.There should be increased focus on improving and aiding the implementation of quality in skills training Vocational Education in schools in India. In this way, students can acquire both life skills and industry-specific skills during their schooling.