Combine the thought with the fact that India is a nation of young people - out of a population of above 1.1 billion, 672 million people are in the age-group 15 to 59 years, - which is usually treated as the “working age population”. It is also being predicted that India will see a sharp decline in the dependency ratio over the next 30 years, which will constitute a major ‘demographic dividend’ for India. In the year 2001, 11% of population of the country was in age group of 18-24 years which is expected to rise to 12% by the end of XI Five Year Plan. This young population should be considered as an invaluable asset which if equipped with knowledge and skills, can contribute effectively to the development of the national as well as the global economy. The vision is to realise India’s human resource potential to its fullest in the education sector, with equity and inclusion.
The Report of the Education Commission (Kothari, 1964-66) which was titled ‘Education and National Development’, set a number of goals to be pursued. One of them was “to sensationalise secondary education.”
Hon.. Prime Minister of India addressing the nation on Independence Day (2006), spoke of the need for a Vocational Education Mission and in Independence Day speech (2007) announced that 1600 new industrial training institutes (ITIs) and polytechnics, 10,000 new vocational schools and 50,000 new Skill Development Centres would be opened to ensure that annually, over 100 lakh students get vocational training, which would be a four-fold increase. The Finance Minister in his budget speech (2007) also mentioned the emerging shortages in the reservoir of skilled and trained manpower in a number of sectors. There is thus a need to expand the VET programmes to take advantage of the demographic dividend of the country and to fulfil the aspirations and right of the youth to gainful employment and contribute to national productivity.
System of Vocational Education and Training (VET) in India
The technical and vocational education and training system (T VET) in India develops human resource through a three-tier system:
• Graduate and post-graduate level specialists (e.g. IITs, NITs, engineering colleges) trained as engineers and technologists.
• Diploma-level graduates who are trained at Polytechnics as technicians and supervisors.
• Certificate-level for higher secondary students in the vocational stream and craft people trained in ITIs as well as through formal apprenticeships as semi-skilled and skilled workers.
There are more than 17 Ministries/Departments of Govt.. of India providing or funding formal/non-formal VET programmes. The total annual training capacity of VET programmes thus offered is estimated to be about 25 lakh. However there is a lot of variation among the various programmes in terms of duration, target group, entry qualifications, testing and certification, curriculum, etc. which has resulted in problems related to recognition of qualifications, equivalence and vertical mobility.
Need for Strengthening Vocational Education Programmes
India is referred to as a ’young nation’ with 28 million population of youth being added every year. Only about 2.5 million vocational training seats are available in the country whereas about 12.8 million persons enter the labour market every year. About 90 per cent of employment opportunities require vocational skills, something that is not being imparted on a large scale in schools and colleges. The major reforms proposed for bringing about necessary ‘flexibility’ in the offering of vocational courses and development of ‘modular competency based curricula’ in collaboration with industry to suit the needs of both target groups and the employers (industry) will be useful in reducing the shortage of skilled manpower.