Business Standard

Mandatory vocational education framework in colleges may be some time away

Officials say implementation will require additional time

M Saraswathy Mumbai
It could be some time before the National Vocational Education Qualification Framework (NVEQF), which envisages a certificate programme across different levels in colleges, is made mandatory. Though AICTE, under the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), wants it to be made compulsory in institutes, officials said that the implementation would require additional time.

On making NVEQF mandatory in all educational institutes, Shankar S Mantha, chairman of AICTE had recently told Business Standard, "I wish that this is so. There  is no point in converting an existing division in a school or a polytechnic or a college to run NVEQF. What should happen is all these should create a new division of maybe 100 students that conducts NVEQF in different sectors and becomes the feeder mechanism."

However, institutes said that there are still lot of issues that need to be clarified before it could made compulsory for all institutions.

NVEQF was launched to be implemented in polytechnics, Engineering Colleges and other colleges in the university systems from 2012-13. The programmes are sector specific and sectors like  IT,  media, entertainment, telecommunications, mobile communications, automobile, construction, retail, hotels, and fashion design, among others have been identified for implementation.

Academicians said that while the ministry's efforts to boost vocational education should be lauded, the industry was not ready for offering these programmes on a large scale.

According to the admissions head of a Pune-based technical institute, corporate jobs with high paychecks are still a far-cry for vocational education graduates. "While there is a need to promote  these  courses,  not  many  of  the  educational institutions will immediately adopt it since they are not many takers," he said.

The scheme has planned seven certificate levels, with each level requiring 1,000 hours. The hours will be divided between vocational competency based skill modules and general learning. There will be a Diploma for vocational education after certificate level five and a Degree for vocational education after level seven in the university system,  subject to their statutory  approval. It will have flexible entry and exit points.

Officials said that more than 350 colleges have registered for the programme. However, they are not looking at a mandatory scheme. "We need the necessary infrastructure to  prepare the courses and get students enrolled. We need atleast 3-4 years before it is made compulsory," said the associate dean of a New Delhi-based college specialising in arts and commerce programmes.

Though AICTE has made preparations to provide the requisite statutory approvals to any institute wishing to conduct these programmes from the academic year 2012 throughout the country, institutes said that they will wait for a few more months before  approaching the regulators.  The institutions can choose a maximum of 500 students per institute in any five sectors; 100 students per sector. The sector skill councils will set the occupational standards and the content would be developed based on these standards.

"The scheme will offer a different sphere of education to students, who do not want to pursue a traditional education course. However, as per our interaction with students,  they  are  not  too  keen to pursue this as a mainstream  course.  Hence, we would need a large student strength in order to offer it as a course," said the head of academics of a Chennai-based polytechnic institute.

AICTE has identified more than 60 specialisations under these sectors. The regulator, which has more than 10,000 colleges in its domain and more than 30,000 colleges in the  rest of the  domain, also signed an MoU with American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) for collaborating with community colleges in the US.

The  Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) is looking to train 500 million people in India by 2022, through its various initiatives. National Policy on Skill  Development  (NPSD) approved by the government has set a target for equipping 500 million persons with necessary skills by the year 2022. National Council on Skill Development (NSDC) has a target of training 150 million people by the year 2022. Further, skill development is being enabled by NSDC through the 22 Sector Skill Councils.

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First Published: Dec 05 2013 | 10:19 AM IST

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