Govt eyes foreign tie-up in vocational education

Uniform standards, collaboration with industry in a bigger way are also part of plan being drawn up by HRD ministry

The British government has already evinced interest and Minister of State for Universities and Science Rt Hon David Willets had proposed that the two countries should jointly work in the area of skill development.

During his recent visit to India Willets also proposed exchange of students and researchers in this field between the two countries. Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal pointed out that equivalence of degrees would be an issue which might affect student mobility.

Sibal also told Parliament that a lot of foreign investment would be planned for vocational education, which would train students in various areas including paramedics, paralegals and in the hospitality sector.

In this direction, the HRD ministry would soon set up a uniform national standard and a nationally recognised qualification system for vocational education.

A background paper has already been prepared by the ministry which said the framework is being developed to provide a common reference for linking various qualifications and setting up common principles and guidelines for a nationally recognised qualification system.

The main objectives would be to facilitate uniform standards in vocational training in schools, vocational education institutions and in higher education sector. It would also enable students to have the option to pursue vocational studies as an exclusive stream on par with Arts, Science and Commerce.

The focus of the revised vocational education stream would be industry collaboration at all stages, starting with designing of the courses, teaching and work experience in the industry. It is likely to be complete within a year.

It would be modelled on the vocational education in Australia and Germany where the industry training is a key component. The government had started the Vocation Education Scheme in 1988 but it was discontinued in 2003-04 and lack of industry partnership was cited as the main reason for the failure of the programme.

As part of the new programme, training schools would be set up across the country to develop skills of students at the 10+2 level. Recognition and credit would be provided for all learning of knowledge and skills like carpentry, masonry, motor mechanics etc.

“There are a lot of variations between the VET (Vocational education and training system) programme in terms of duration, target group, entry qualifications, testing and certification, curriculum, which has resulted in problems related to recognition of qualifications, equivalence and vertical mobility. We want to solve the problem,” an official told Deccan Herald.

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