A Centrally-sponsored scheme to promote vocational education among secondary and higher secondary education, introduced five years ago in the State, has yet to gain traction. Students and teachers say that in order for the programme to get impetus, there is a need to strengthen the overall ecosystem of skill-based education.
This academic year, only 3,652 students across Karnataka will be writing the SSLC examination under the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF). They will have to sit for papers in their core subjects and only two languages. In lieu of the third language, they can pick a vocation they can pursue for four years till the completion of their second year of pre-university.
Among the vocations offered, Information Technology has the maximum number of takers with 1,474 students. The least preference is for retail. This is the fifth academic year that this programme has been running in Karnataka in 150 schools.
While Karnataka’s Department of Primary and Secondary Education wanted to roll out the programme in 100 new schools for the 2018-2019 academic year, the Union government gave permission for it to be implemented in only 50.
However, even the existing schools that follow the programme have seen hurdles in implementation. Teachers and Education Department officials pointed out that it was difficult to get credible training partners. Many students also opted for mainstream education after they finished Class 12. “After completing four years of the vocational course, the student will want an internship, a job opportunity or a seat in a course they can pursue so that they are able to see value to commensurate their time and investment,” an official of the department pointed out.
M.T. Reju, State Project Director, Sarva Shikasha Abhiyan, said, “Year after year, the programme is getting more acceptance among children and we are trying to improve the system although the pace is slow.”