Skills training: a time-bomb for India
700 million Indians will be looking for jobs by the year 2022. What skills will they need to make a living in an economy which is increasingly based on knowledge and services?
Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is already a key element of India’s education initiative. It is widely believed that TVET should be further integrated into secondary school level and redefined to make it flexible, relevant, inclusive and sustainable.
To address this challenge, a three-day International Conference on "Integration of Academic Courses with Vocational Education in Secondary Schools" was organized jointly on 17-19 February in New Delhi by UNESCO, the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) and the Commonwealth of Learning.
Inaugurated by Anshu Vaish, Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy, the conference explored ways to increase access to sustainable and learner-centred quality education and equip secondary school students with vocational skills through open distance learning.
Discussions focused on five themes: vocational skills and training to empower citizens; designing the curriculum and quality framework; use of technology in TVET; recognizing prior learning and assessment and certification frameworks. It was agreed that the Conference advanced understanding on TVET policies and strategies for integrating academic courses with vocational education through equivalency. A full report is forthcoming.
Participants included the Government of India, State Secretaries of Education, academic and TVET institutions, national and international experts in planning and assessment, NGOs, industry partners and UN agencies.
UNESCO and NIOS work together to upgrade TVET courses for inclusion in literacy materials, and to integrate the education of neo-literates with skills training. The ultimate goal is to contribute to national development for India.
The future of TVET in India and all other countries of the world will be the focus of Third International Congress on TVET (Shanghai, 13-16 May 2012). Organized by UNESCO, it will address sustainable development and economic and social challenges like youth unemployment.