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Exploring Aspirations-Unlocking potential of youth

A case for mandating vocational education at schools In India

In 1860 Raja Mahendra Pratap a revolutionary in self-imposed exile travelled around the world and
returned with confirmed idea that future of India lay in vocational education system. He decided to set
up a vocational school Prem Mahavidyalayaat Brindavan (UP)&donated his entire state, land&
palace. Foundation stone of his vocational school was laid by Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya from
BHU.To Raja Mahindra Pratap vocational education was a movement like industrial revolution in Briton
which would invigorate the decant social structure of India following its liberation from the British rule.
In 1948 after Indias independence Dr S.Radhakrishnan commission emphasized the need for
compulsory vocational education at school. In 1952 Mudaliar commission suggested that post secondary education stage should be terminal in nature and vocational education should start from
class IX. In 1966 Kothari commission suggested that vocational education should be the distinct stream
at +2 stage (XI &XII)and National Policy on education 1968 had accepted its recommendations.
Although vocational education had been accorded high priority in NPE 1986 with target to cover25% of
higher secondary students under vocational courses by 1995. Under the scheme 9583 schools were
covered and as per the evaluation study carried out in 1996 only 4.8% were diverted to vocational
stream with 28%of vocational pass out were employed or self- employed.
What had gone wrong ? As a nation we have failed to address two most critical issues related to
vocational education at School. First deep rooted Cultural & Second lack of robust Systems.
1-Cultural:As a nation& society we have always promoted and respected people who perform mind
work( Administrators (IAS,IPS,IFS),managers, lawyers, journalists, policy makers etc). Therefore our
high caste policy makers &administrators whenever in power continued to create modern day
Bahramins through our institutions of repute. Therefore Since 1955 nations focus was to set up IITs,
IIMs, Engineering, medical colleges, universities (both Government & private). Work by hand was
meant for people with lower castes and hence was never respected and rewarded either monetarily or
promoted through world class institutions.
2-Systemic: As a nation we deliberately did not create robust systems & processes for
vocationalization of education at schools to increase the marginal productivity &lowered
unemployment rates amongst people who worked by hand. A detailed analysis of three stakeholders
(students, teachers &school administrators )in table 1,2 &3 clearly shows why as a nation we never
created an ecosystem & robust system to skill large section of people through compulsory vocational
education at schools.

Table 1 : Students

Personal Need
Recognized Certificate
Practical Training
Skilled Teacher
Course Material

Who Satisfies It
Corporate + MSME
Apprenticeship of MSME
MSME Industry

Critical success factor: Corporate and MSME for apprenticeship and job.
Written in red indicates the ecosystem in the country is very weak and therefore can cause VET failure in school

Table 2: Skill Teacher/Faculty

Priority Personal Need
Permanent Employment

Training & Certification

Lab for practical training


Who Satisfies It
State government & School
State government & school

Critical success factor: State government for providing funds for permanent teacher employment & training.

Table 3 :School Administration


Personal Need
Motivated skill teacher
OJT & Apprenticeship
Labs & Equipment

Who satisfies it
State government
MSME & Corporate
MSME & Corporate
MSME & Corporate
State government

Table 4: VET at Schools consolidated


Personal Need
Recognized Certificate
Permanent Employment

Training & Certification

Who Satisfies It
Corporate + MSME
State government & School
State government

Critical Success Factor (1) Corporate & MSME for apprenticeship and Placement
(2) Government for funds for placement skill teachers and skill labs
Written in red indicates the ecosystem in the country is very weak and therefore can cause VET failure in school


Today young vibrant youth of India is looking for honing his/her skills so that he/she can either get an
employment or be self- employed. Their hopes and aspirations are buoyed by emerging opportunities
like Make In India, Digital India, Smart Cities, Swatch Bharat etc.
In order to turn aspiration of Indian youth into world class skills and global opportunities to be
engaged in its important to understand contextually people skill development and enterprise success
stories of Japan Germany, Switzerland& Sweden during 1950-2000 through the prism of vocational skill
development at school level& what are/were similarities between these nations which contributed
towards people skills, enterprise success, quality jobs towards sustained growth of these nations.
A detailed similarity analysis of vocational education at school (senior secondary or upper secondary)of
Japan-Germany-Sweden-Switzerland highlights the following
1-Compulsory vocational education at schools (senior secondary or upper secondary) in GermanySweden-Switzerland is mandated& in Japan although it is not mandated yet 26% to 35%students opt
for vocational education.
2-Heavy emphasis
is on practical on the job training &proficiency testing through dual
degree(Germany-Switzerland),Gymnasium(Sweden)and school industry work place projects as in
3- Structured and long term involvement of employers through practical on the job apprenticeship
with employers bearing the burden of stipend during apprenticeship.
4-Vocational education curriculum in Upper Secondary school is holistic and covers general subjects
(Language, Mathematics, science, social science) &specific vocational subjects(role specific skill training
,life Skills, entrepreneurship development).

5-Strong legislation by government on vocational education at school. Very robust processes to ensure
student counselling, skill teacher selection, training and certification of these skill teachers, students
on the job apprenticeship training at employers premise, skill operation documentation &management
information systems& student placements.
6-There is direct evidence that these countries with strong VET quality assurance systems have
increased their marginal productivity &lowered unemployment rates.
In order to become skill capital of the world it is essential that India should focus on-3S
Scale(to skill 15 to 18 million youth every year) Standards(quality of content, teachers, assessors and
practical on the job training) Speed(by 2030 the nation must skill 500 million youth across the nation).
Such a scale is possible only and only through high quality skill delivery through 1,23,265 secondary
schools and 60,383 senior secondary schools. Currently 28.9 million students are enrolled at secondary
level and 16.6 million students are enrolled at senior secondary level.


Since 1958, vocational education has been offered in both comprehensive high schools and in separate
vocational secondary schools. Most Japanese upper secondary schools offer academic programs that
prepare students for higher education, and do not offer vocational courses. Therefore most of the
Japanese students who participate in vocational courses
do so in vocational schools. One of the main goals of vocational education was career education
through experiential learning. During the 1990 school year, about 26% of upper secondary school
students were enrolled in vocational education classes.

The major objectives of vocation education at the lower secondary school in Japan are:
1) To help students learn basic skills through creative/-productive experience, to understand modern
technology, and foster fundamental attitudes for practice;
2) Through experience of design and realization, to foster skills for presentation, creation, and rational
attitudes for problem solving;
3) Through experience in manufacturing/operation of machines/devices, to understand the relation
between technology and life and to foster attitudes for improving technology and daily life. Major
content areas included design and drawing; woodworking and metal working; machinery; electricity;
and cultivation.

In upper secondary schools, students enrolled in vocational technical education are required to take
fundamental subjects such as Fundamentals of Industry, Mathematics in technology, and
Practice. The goal of these subjects was to improve students' fundamental knowledge and skills, as
well as accommodate new teaching materials and methods. One of the most significant revisions in
upper secondary technical courses is the introduction of integrated problem solving courses, such as
mechatronics, applied mechatronics, and independent/assignment project study. The primary
objective of the new mechatronics course is to promote the understanding of fundamental knowledge
and skills related to mechatronics. The primary objective of independent project study is for students
to deepen and integrate knowledge and skills through problem solving and
industrial projects. Major content areas include design, manufacture, research, experimentation, the
study of workplace practice, and acquisition of professional/vocational certificates.
Technology Education Teaching Methods
From the beginnings of technology education in Japan, the primary teaching methodology was
experiential, based on the project method. Technology education classes in Japan are typically
organized into lecture and practice classes. Practice classes (laboratory work) usually have fewer
students than lecture classes. The average class size in Japan is approximately 40 students. More
recently, new types of project activities have been introduced that attempt to integrate different
technical areas and lecture content.
Support for Technology Education
The Vocational Education Promotion Law was enacted in 1951. As a result the national government,
through the Ministry of Education, was obligated to promote vocational technical education and
encourage local governments to support facilities for vocational technical education. After the
development of each Standard Curriculum, the Ministry of Education promulgated technology
education and vocational technical education equipment standards. The national government
provided subsidies to upper secondary schools that amount to approximately one third of the budget
for vocational technical education facilities and equipment. As authorized by Vocational Education
Allowance Act of 1957, upper secondary vocational teachers at national and public schools receive
a special monthly allowance equal to 10% of their monthly salary


The structure of types of school and educational programmes in lower secondary education is based
on the principle of general basic education, emphasis on the individual and performance-related
support. Educational programmes in lower secondary education focus
primarily on general education, while in upper secondary education, in addition to the
grammar-school educational programme, programmes of vocational education are to the fore. Thus
upper secondary educational programmes lead either to the qualifications required for entrance to
higher education, entitling students to enter institutions of higher education, or to vocational
qualifications, enabling those so qualified to enter employment as a qualified skilled worker, for
example in a recognised training occupation (in accordance with Federal regulations) or working in an
occupation as an assistant (accordance with Land regulations).
Lower secondary education covers the 10-16 age group, and upper secondary education the
15-19 age groups. The transfer to the various types of upper secondary school is based on
Studentsscholastic performance.

Dual System

The system is described as dual because training is conducted in two places of learning
Companies and vocational schools. It normally lasts three years. (In addition to training
Occupations requiring only two years training, there are also statutory regulations facilitating a
reduction in the training period with enterprises agreement, e.g. for trainees with the Abitur[final
school-leaving certificate entitling holders to enter any institution of higher education].)

The aim of training in the dual system is to provide, in a well-ordered training programme,
broadly based basic vocational training and the qualifications and competences required to
practise an occupation as a skilled worker in a changing world of work. Successful completion of the
programme entitles the trainee to practise an occupation as a qualified skilled worker in one of the 346
currently recognised training occupations. Compulsory full-time education must have been completed
by the time of commencing vocational training. The enterprises bear the costs of the in-company
training and pay the trainee remuneration for training that is regulated by collective agreement
between the parties. The amount of the remuneration increases with every year of training, and
averages about one third of the starting pay for a trained skilled worker.

Nearly two thirds of those entering upper secondary education enter the vocational education and
training system. At this level, vocational education and training is mainly provided through the dual
system. Students spend some of their time in a vocational school; some of their time doing an
apprenticeship at a host company; and for most programmes, students attend industry courses at an
industry training centre to develop complementary practical skills relating to the occupation at hand.
Common patterns are for students to spend one- two days per week at the vocational school and
three-four days doing the apprenticeship at the host company; alternatively they alternate between
some weeks attending classes at the vocational school and some weeks attending industry courses at
an industry training centre. A different pattern is to begin the programme with most of the time
devoted to in-school education and gradually diminishing the amount of in-school education in favour
of more in-company training

Gymnasieutbildning (Upper secondary education).

The Swedish Education Act July 2011 covers both independent and municipally run public upper
secondary schools. There are 18 national programmes in the upper secondary school, 12 vocational
programmes and 6 programmes preparatory for higher education. All programmes in the upper
secondary school are three years in duration

12 Vocational Programmes
Child and Recreation Programme
Building and Construction Programme
Electricity and Energy Programme
Vehicle and Transport Programme
Business and Administration Programme
Handicraft Programme
Hotel and Tourism Programme
Industrial Technology Programme
Natural Resource Use Programme
Restaurant Management and Food Programme
HVAC and Property Maintenance Programme
Health and Social Care Programme
6 Higher Education Preparatory Programmes
Business Management and Economics Programme
Arts Programme
Humanities Programme
Natural Science Programme
Social Science Programme
Technology Programme

Apprenticeship Training
In vocational programmes, it is possible to choose an upper secondary apprenticeship
education. Students who choose this option carry out a major part of their education at one or more
workplaces. Apprenticeship education has the same goals and knowledge requirements as the other
education provided in upper secondary schools. In order to strengthen cooperation between the
vocational programmes of the upper secondary school and working life, there are both national and
local programme councils. Entrepreneurship permeates the whole of the upper secondary school. In all
programmes, students have the opportunity to study entrepreneurship in some depth.
Entrepreneurship may cover such areas as starting and running a company, being creative, taking
initiatives, seeing opportunities and solving problems.

A student who completes an upper secondary programme receives a diploma from
the upper secondary school. For a vocational diploma, students should have studied 2,500 credits, of
which 2,250 should result in passing grades. Students can receive a vocational diploma both through
apprenticeship education and through school based vocational education. For a diploma providing
eligibility for higher education, students should have studied 2,500 credits, of which 2,250 should
result in passing grades. All students in vocational programmes have the right to study the courses
required to achieve basic eligibility for higher education