Government accepts high-level panel report on vocational education

Special Correspondent

Syllabus revision to be undertaken, unpopular courses wound up

“A new vocational course can be offered only with permission of the government”

“Existing vocational courses should be changed into unifocal courses over a period of five years”

VELLORE: The State government has accepted the report of the High-Level Committee on Vocational Education headed by Girija Vaidyanathan, former Principal Secretary, Department of Education, and has issued orders (G.O. Ms.No.8 of the School Education Department dated January 6, 2009) for revamping vocational education as per the recommendations of the committee. The committee was constituted in 2007.

As per the G.O., the government has decided to wind up unpopular courses and undertake syllabus revision for the most popular vocational courses. It has stated that no new vocational course should be started from the academic year 2007-2008 and that no new vocational instructor should be appointed either by the school management or the Parent Teachers’ Association. “Henceforth, a new vocational course can be offered only with the permission of the government.”

The Director of School Education has been asked to assess the utility of the courses in which the students’ strength is found to be less than 15, and the course is available in one school only, and close down such unviable courses. It stated, “wherever the subjects taught have the characteristics of general subjects and do not impart vocational skills, they may be converted as general groups”.

The G.O. states that the existing vocational courses should be changed into unifocal courses (with more emphasis on vocational education) over a period of five years, giving more time to vocational subjects and for practicals. Besides, practicals should be conducted either in the industries, the Industrial Training Institutes or in the approved community colleges. Language syllabus should be reduced and converted into a soft skills curriculum.

“Some vocational courses like Office Secretaryship may be made more relevant by suitably altering the components of the course.” The government has decided to leave the practical training to the industries. The G.O. favoured an independent certification of practical skills acquired by students through the State Council for Vocational Training or by agencies/industry imparting training.

The committee pointed out that the objective of training young people should be to make them ready to join the workforce/become self-employed. “Practical component of the courses should be strengthened and courses should be need-based,” it said.

The committee has recommended immediate revision of syllabus and textbooks. Other recommendations: incentives should be offered to industry to set up training facilities on school premises for use by nearby two or three schools; evaluation should be competency-based.

Welcoming the acceptance of the report by the government, S.N. Janardhanan, State general secretary of Tamil Nadu Higher Secondary School Postgraduate Commerce Vocational Teachers’ Association, requested the government to grant pay-scales on a par with postgraduate teachers in the general stream, to all vocational teachers having PG qualification, who have been working on the basis of equal qualification for equal work

The association also pleaded for permission to qualified vocational teachers to value the quarterly and half-yearly Standard XI and Standard XII papers and the Plus Two public examination papers.

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