'Let pupils switch between general, vocation courses'

'Let pupils switch between general, vocation courses'

Students of class 8 and above may get to switch from general education to vocational courses and vice versa if the Karnataka Knowledge Commission has its way.

A 14-member panel, co-chaired by Team Lease Services Chairman Manish Sabharwal and MEMG International Chairman T V Mohandas Pai, has come out with the Karnataka Skill Development Plan that provides an outline for the state to address skill development in a variety of sectors and its integration with education, employment and professional development.

The panel recently submitted its report to the newly set up Department of Skill Development, Entrepreneurship and Livelihood of the state government.

The panel strongly felt the need for a two-way movement between general education and vocational education. Presently, students who opt for vocational education, say at the pre-university level, do not have the option to return to general education.

"We have recommended that this barrier be removed," Mukund K Rao, member-secretary, KKC, told  DH.  He is also a member of the skill development committee of the KKC.  

The report states that vocational education should be introduced in secondary school, arguing that vocational curriculum has failed to attract academically successful professionals.  

"The stigma that vocational education and training courses are mainly meant for academically not-so-proficient people has greatly contributed to this notion. It is imperative that an image-building exercise be undertaken for vocational education and skill development," the report states.

Rao also advocated the need for certification of skills.

"For instance, there is no identification or certification for a person who has put in 10 years as carpenter or electrician.

The panel has suggested setting up a skill university to cater to this and other needs," he added.  

The government has accepted the skill university recommendation. The modalities for setting it up in a public-private partnership are underway, official sources said.

As part of the overall process of skill development, the Karnataka Skill Development Plan has identified the need to redefine employment exchanges into career guidance centres and put the focus on careers rather than jobs.

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