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Important to change mindset towards vocational studies: Hamid Ansari

Posted on Apr 11 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, April 11 : Vice President Hamid Ansari Friday stressed on the need of imparting vocational education at the school level and said it is important to change the people's mindset, which attached social stigma to this genre.

"Despite efforts, it is a challenge to implement vocational education in the school curriculum primarily due to the mindset of people, which attaches a kind of social stigma to vocational studies. This drives students into pursuing formal degrees aimlessly and without any employability," Ansari said.

Ansari was speaking at the 'International Conference on Skilling in Schools', jointly organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) here.

The vice president said the government is cognizant of the importance of skill development for the national development agenda and there is a need to mainstream skill formation in the formal education system.

"At present, there is low penetration of vocational education and training in India. Skills are yet to become aspirational among the youth. There is, therefore, an urgent need to mainstream skill formation in the formal education system and at the same time introduce innovative approaches for the skill creation outside the system," Ansari said.

Ansari said student's enrollment in school is about 227 million in India but their net enrollment in vocational education and training courses, is only around 3.5 million per year.

"The figures compare India poorly with 90 million in China and 11 million in the US," he said.

Ansari's views were echoed by CBSE chairman Vineet Joshi, who said the latest paradigm shift in education emphasises on the skill element to be enhanced in the field of vocational as well as the mainstream education system.

"We have been facing a peculiar situation in India, where around 93 percent of our labour force works in an unorganised sector, forcing us to urgently respond to the skill requirement of the sector, to sustain the momentum of the economy. If we need to revamp the non-formal sector of employment, we have to focus on the diversification of vocational training," Joshi said.

PHD Chamber president Sharad Jaipuria said India is ahead in supplying youth globally, in the age group of 15-35 years, and will continue to lead for the next 40 years.

"We should not, therefore, dissipate this natural resource. The task of meeting global talent needs with an educated and trained workforce, is too huge for any nation to take on," he said.

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