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Challenges of vocational education
The challenges of vocational education are many and singularly complex. Complex because it will encompass social realities such as literacy and adult and continuing education. It is not only preparing someone for the job market, as some think
VOCATIONAL EDUCATION now is the catch word in education. It has come full circle. After talking of  the vocationalisation of education and how vocational education should be introduced as a subject of study, the policy makers today are identifying it with skill development. The National Skills Commission report has earmarked areas of such a thrust, that is skill development and vocational education are compatible. The second is the emphasis on training. Vocational Education and Training are also corollaries. In other words, training is basically a feature of such education, whether it be in the organised sector or the unorganised sector, for skilled or unskilled workers.

The challenges of vocational education are many and singularly complex. Complex because it will encompass social realities such as literacy and adult and continuing education. It is not only preparing someone for the job market, as some think, I feel mistakenly. Job preparedness is certainly something very germane to the issue but the point is that vocational means preparedness or readiness to enter a new multi purpose world. Hence  the necessary emphasis on training, learning to learn and lifelong education. Some of these are cliches but my rationale is that when a country like India has about 35 per cent illiterate people we have to give endearing and empathetic consideration for basic, non formal education, which will be a platform for a vocation. It is not only the question of procuring a job.

It is also here that the National Skills Commission report is of cardinal importance as it earmarks very clearly certain target groups such as women especially in rural areas, drop outs, street children, domestic workers, tribals etc. Education perforce must adhere to all encompassing realities.

The world of work, the world of academia and the world of industry are inter related, in a very subtle way. Industry too can be interpreted variously, people working in the unorganised sector are very much a part of an industry, as persons working in top corporate houses. Education must radicalise a thinking where we are freed from the shackles of merely acquiring degrees. For a domestic worker to be trained in IT skills is as important and significant, as a person studying for his/ her Phd. It is a question of opportunities and missed opportunities....

The quibbling with terms such as ' vocational ' and ' professional ' must go. It merely creates senseless class barrires. Education like anything else must be declassed! and freed from the upper echelons of society who have had hitherto a minimalist approach to it.



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