Kind attention the most respectable and Hon. Minister for Education Sri. PK Abdu Rabb, Sri C.K Mohanan, Director VHSE, Various Leaders of service Association and Unions, Experts behind restructuring VHSE, Dear colleagues and Educational aspirants
A change is always considered good for better growth opportunity. But it is human and natural to resist a change, especially when it comes to our own state, Kerala. This is mainly because, instead of looking in to the positive sides of a change, we always look a change in negative way
Change in VHSE system of education is gaining utmost importance now a days especially when the number of seats for HSS is increasing. One day or other it is sure that we will be thrown out of the stream. So instead of swimming against the flow, we should be able to swim with the flow
Here I describe a proposal for restructuring the VHSE stream of education, which is already send to higher authorities. Now my humble request to all the above mentioned great personalities to go through this project proposal make changes favourably for mutual career growth
Thank You, Regards and Best wishes
Education being a service oriented sector, the cost benefit ratio cannot be worked out in a direct way. The only indirect way to count the productivity achieved through general education is by adding more production oriented units thereby increasing the GDP of our country. With this long term view vocational education was started in our country.
In our state vocational education was started in early 1980’s. Though the main objective of vocational education was self employment to the participants, it has diverted much and ended up in a curriculum similar to general plus two studies with an additional vocational subject. Hence it didn’t gain much public acceptance. Even after 30 years, the VHSE department in the state has not been able to deliver the expected results out of it.
When a survey was conducted among the VHSE pass outs, it has been found that the number of pass outs who wish to engage in an income source based on the skills they acquire is meager. This indicates the need for rethinking about the future of VHSE education in the state. As a whole it has been found that those who are doing courses in VHSE are eyeing at Government employment rather than self employment.
Only a very small percentage of the pass outs will be able to secure Government jobs in the state. Hence for a gainful self employment of the pass outs and for the stability of the vocational education system, it is high time to think about an alternative.
The draft scheme proposal outlined here is a mere concept paper with a facilitation function for those who are willing to be gainfully self employed
The present condition of the department and the need for revamping
The present condition of this department is pathetic with lot of drawbacks.
Ø Unavailability of students in VHSE and vacant seats in HSE – Even now, VHSE is considered by the public as a last resort for education in plus two levels. Schools which are conducting VHSE courses are finding it difficult to get students each year. Most of the students studying in VHSE schools are not even aware of the importance of the course they are studying. On enquiry most of them replied that they opted for VHSE as they could not secure a seat in HSS. It is interesting that the total number of seats which remain vacant in HSE in each year is more than the total number of students studying in the VHSE in the whole state. Fall in the number of students seeking admission to VHSE courses each year questions even the existence of this department.Apart from these are the seats remaining in Polytechnics, ITIs, THSE and further the Open School
Ø Deviated objective of VHSE – The objective of Vocational Higher Secondary education is to make a student capable of handling a technical skill without further external support. As at present it has much diverted from the actual objective. Present system adopted by the State Government in VHSE is just equivalent to higher secondary Courses with addition of vocational courses in it. In many schools it has been seen that the importance of the Vocational subject is totally neglected giving more importance to non vocational subjects there by nullifying the importance of VHSE. Though ‘On the Job Training’ (OJT) is being given, it has been reduced to a mere ritual with out much benefits to the target group. A student who completes the VHSE course must be able to handle the technical skill he acquired with out much external technical support. But now most of the students who join VHSE are just joining as a last resort and such students never acquire any technical skill after completing the course. They go out empty handed after (Better say wasting) two years.
Ø Least and Most preferred courses among the students and the basis of such classification – Some courses like Agriculture and Live Stock Management are preferred by the students just for getting government employment like Agriculture Assistant in Agriculture Department and Live Stock Inspector in Animal Husbandry Department. Except for this, these are least preferred courses among students. While some engineering related courses, though not recognized by the PSC, are preferred by the students with the aim of self employment. Such courses which are preferred by the students with Self employment motives must be entertained rather than admitting students giving hope of Government employment
Ø Irresponsibility of VHSE department - The responsibility of the VHSE department finishes once the students completes the course and a certificate issued on successful completion of the course. There is no follow up on the pass out students in the way of performing the skill they acquired. In most of the cases it is seen that after completing the VHSE course, the student opt for general degree course. This justifies the point that a student opts for VHSE course only because he/she could not secure a seat in Higher Secondary School. Even if they succeed in finding a livelihood also, it will be in a different field in which there is no connection with the skill they acquired through completing VHSE course.
Ø Outdated courses - Most of the Vocational Courses offered to students at present are outdated. To cite few examples, the Type writing skill associated with the course Office Secretary-ship is a mere waste in the present scenario. When computer has replaced Typewriter and almost any one can handle a computer now a days, what relevance does it make with the course? Another one course in Agriculture (Plant Protection) does not offer any employment opportunity even to the brightest student who studies this. Then what is the use of such courses? Most of the courses are of low self employment profile and some of them are even obsolete
Ø Poor Human Resource utilization in the department – If we compare the work load of VHSE staff it has been seen that it is much lower than the work load of Higher secondary staff (I am speaking about the actual work load and not the work load as per the syllabus) The Vocational staff may be afraid of losing the “Benefits” of low work load enjoyed by them, once they are reallocated to other departments or in the same department itself with different nature of work there by resisting the new proposed system envisaged by the Government.
Ø Neglecting the importance of Marketing in curriculum – Since this is an entrepreneurship oriented program, it is true, production aspect is given utmost importance in the curriculum. It is sad to say that academic aspect on marketing is totally neglected. In the present scenario when the success of any venture is based on the successful marketing of the product, it is worth mentioning the irresponsibility of the VHSE department by neglecting the importance of marketing
Ø Inequality among HSE and VHSE students – By offering technical skills only to a group of students VHSE students), we are denying opportunity to learn these skills to other students (HSS students). This is against the Right for Education Act
Ø Lack of proper infrastructure facilities for conducting the course is another major problem faced by the department
Ø Absence of effective Co-ordination and Supervision of the department
Ø Staff Turn Over – The staff turn over in this department is higher than average which also shows the staff dissatisfaction in this department.
Suggested new scheme
As at present the major function performed by the VHSE department is only academic in nature. To bring out the success of vocational education, the department has to co-ordinate the pass outs who wish to use their skills for self employment. Hence a facilitation center should also be included in the new scheme. This facilitation center should be a guide for the certificate holders in starting an enterprise or undertaking production on group based activities like Self Help Groups (SHGs). The suggested scheme focuses on utilization of enthusiastic Vocational Education certificate holders in production oriented group based activities.
The whole scheme can be divided in to three stages
Stage 1 – Skill Development phase
Stage 2 – Group Formation phase
Stage 3 – Stabilization phase
Skill Development phase– The target group in this phase is the plus two level students and the general enthusiastic participants. The Plus two level students enter the system through Higher Secondary Education and the general enthusiastic participants through the Vocational Education & Training (VET) center. The VET center should impart training to all desirous general public and should issue certificate on successful completion of the course. With the introduction of this system no one will be denied of any skills they wish to acquire.
Based on the policies made by the government, vocational course may be made compulsory or optional in the plus two levels. Identification of courses to be included in vocational education should be need based. A broader classification of the groups may be as follows
· Health Science
· Travel and Tourism
· Engineering & Information Technology
· Home Science
After successful completion of vocational course from plus two level and VET center, those who wish to undertake self employment with the skills they acquire from this level of education, but needs co-ordination should register their names in the facilitation centers established for the purpose.
Group formation stage – Those who wish to engage in gainful self employment have to register their names with the Facilitation center of the department. The role of facilitation department is to group the registered participants in to several technical groups as above. For effective performance of these technical groups, it has to be further divided in to Self Help Groups (SHGs). These Self Help groups have to be organized locally and will have to work in accordancewith the stated norms of the Government. Such Self Help Groups should form the basis of productive units.
Stabilization Stage –Self Help Groups can start their activities right after registration with the competent authorities. For effective marketing of their products a registered co-operative Society is to be formed. Irrespective of the technical grouping, the registered Self Employees Co-operative Society helps to co-ordinate the marketing activities of these Self help groups. Membership of this co-operative society should be restricted to the members of the self help groups. The Co-operative society has to be affiliated to the district/state co-operative bank for financial assistance for these self help groups
The role of the VHSE department should be extended up to the stabilization stage of the groups and once these groups get stabilized, they can work on their own.
Suggestions regarding redeployment of present employees
Ø With the introduction of Vocational Education and Training Center and Vocational courses in plus two level as a whole, the present staff will have to be reallocated. To solve the issue, Government may consider the following ways
a) Reallocated in other departments which requires similar qualification as that of the staff of VHSE. For this, option may be called for from the interested staff of VHSE to get reallocated/ Redeployed in other departments.
b) The excess staff arising after such redeployment to other departments can be effectively utilized in HSE department for handling vocational courses. The non vocational teaching staff can be accommodated in the HSE department.
c) Some of them can be reallocated in the VET centre and Facilitation center.
Ø It is a natural phenomenon to resist a technical change. There may be chances of opposition from the staff as there will be change in their work pattern. To limit the resistance of employees, it is better to start implementing the new VET system in stages. As the success of any system depends on the mentality of Human Resource in it, only those who are interested in reallocation to VET center should be included in the first phase
Ø The present VHSE system may be phased out in stages, to incorporate the new system (Vocational Education and Training Center– VET). For this VET centers have to be introduced in an experimental basis in selected areas in this academic year (2015-16) itself, study the pros and cons, make necessary changes and implement in full fledged from next academic year (2015 – 16)onwards
Ø Counseling the Vocational Staff for fear of unemployment – Most of the Vocational Staff disbelieve that they may be thrown out unemployed or their benefits may be scaled down when the new scheme is introduced. To avoid this, there is need for staff counseling
Ø As the staff in aided management schools cannot be accommodated like the Government schools, their case should be thought of separately
Conclusion – As said earlier this is just a concept paper. Hence discussions on this concept at higher level are needed before further steps. As per my findings, VHSE department is to be revamped or restructured; else its existence is unpredictable.