Need for Vocationalisation of Education in India

Guest Author’s Profile:-

Ms. Swati Mujumdar, is currently the Director of Symbiosis Centre for Distance
Learning and Principal Director of SymbiosisOpen Education Society. Her area of
research is higher education, distance education and use of ICT in education.
She has a keen interest in various policies related to higher education,
privatization of education and has presented several papers in national and
international conferences.



Vocational Education and Training (VET) is an important element of the nation’s
education initiative. In order for Vocational Education to play its part
effectively in the changing national context and for India to enjoy the fruits
of the demographic dividend, there is an urgent need to redefine the critical
elements of imparting vocational education and training to make them flexible,
contemporary, relevant, inclusive and creative. The Government is well aware of
the important role of Vocational education and has already taken a number of
important initiatives in this area.

The objective of this note is to assess and describe the need for introducing
Vocational education at higher and tertiary levels and for establishing a
Vocational University. The note also summarizes the present Indian and
International Vocational Education scenario and its problems. The note also
puts up recommendation for policies with the need for implementation at State
and National Level and suggests possible models to introduce Vocational
Education at the higher / tertiary levels.

Current Scenario of Vocational Education and Training in India

The structure of current education system can be described as below:-


In India, skill acquisition takes place through two basic structural streams – a small formal one and a large informal one. Details of major formal sources are listed in table below-:

Status of Vocational Training received: The World Bank report of 2006, shows that among persons of age 15-29 only about 2 per cent reported to have received formal vocational training and another 8 per cent reported to have received non formal vocational training. The proportion of persons (15-29 years) who received formal vocational training was the highest among the unemployed. The proportion was around 3 per cent for the employed, 11 percent for the unemployed and 2 per cent for persons not in the labour force. The activity of persons receiving vocational education is as shown below-:

Comparison with other Countries: There is little capacity in vocational education in India and even that is under-utilized. World Bank Report suggests that the enrolment figure is less than three per cent of the students attending Grades 11-12. This implies that between 350,000 to 400,000 students are enrolled in vocational education, which works out to less than three per cent of the 14 million students or more in Grades 11 and 12, implying that less than one per cent of students who had entered Grade 1 over the last decade or so would have eventually participated in vocational education. In comparison the status in various other countries is as shown below-:

Problem Areas in present Vocational Education and Training System

Through, the study of the prevalent Vocational Education System in India the following problem areas have been identified -:

1. There is a high drop out rate at Secondary level. There are 220 million children who go to school in India. Of these only around 12%    students reach university. A large part of the 18-24 years age group in India has never been able to reach college. Comparing India to countries with similar income levels – India does not under perform in primary education but has a comparative deficit in secondary education.

Vocational Education is presently offered at Grade 11, 12th – however students reaching this Grade aspire for higher education. Since the present system does not allow vertical mobility, skills obtained are lost.  Enrollment in 11th & 12th Grade of vocational education is only 3% of students at upper secondary level. About 6800 schools enroll 400,000 students in vocational education schemes utilizing only 40% of the available student capacity in these schools.

3. International experience suggests that what employers mostly want are young workers with strong basic academic skills and not just vocational skills. The present system does not emphasize general academic skills. The relative wages of workers with secondary education are increasing.
4.  Private & Industry Participation is lacking. There are no incentives for private players to enter the field of vocational education.

5.  Present regulations are very rigid. In-Service Training is required but not prevalent today. There is no opportunity for continuous skill up-gradation.

6. There is a lack of experienced and qualified teachers to train students on   vocational skills. In foreign countries Bachelors of Vocational Education (BVE) is often a mandatory qualification for teachers. However, in India no specific qualifications are being imparted for Vocational Education teachers.

7.  Vocationalization at all levels has not been successful.  Poor quality of training is not in line with industry needs.

8.  There is no definite path for vocational students to move from one level / sector to   another level / sector. Mobility is not defined and hence students do not have a clear path in vocational education.

9.  No clear policy or system of vocational education leading to certification / degrees presently available for the unorganized / informal sector. No Credit System has been formulated for the same.  Over 90% of employment in India is in the Informal sector. JSS offers 255 types of vocational courses to 1.5 million people, Community Polytechnics train about 450,000 people within communities annually and NIOS offers 85 courses through 700 providers. None of these programs have been rigorously evaluated, till date.

10. Expansion of vocational sector is happening without   consideration for present problems.

Trends related to Labour Market

An analysis of the labour market has brought the following issues to the fore-:

1.   Labour market requirement for skilled workers without general education skills is declining.

2. Labour force participation is declining while student participation is increasing. Thus more students are joining higher secondary education and looking for vertical mobility.
Government Initiatives

National Vocational Qualification Framework:  To stimulate and support reforms in skills development and to facilitate nationally standardized and acceptable, international comparability of qualifications, a “National Vocational Qualifications Framework” is being established by the Central Government. Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) has resolved to set up an inter-ministerial group which would also include representatives of State Governments to develop guidelines for such a National Framework.

The unified system of national qualification will cover schools, vocational education and training institutions and higher education sector. NVQF will be based on nationally recognized occupational standards which details listing of all major activities that a worker must perform in the occupation or competency standards – a detailed listing of the knowledge, skills and attitude that a worker should possess to perform a task written by the particular employment-led sector skills council.

The National Skill Development Policy 2009 has proposed the following features for the framework:-

a) Competency based qualifications and certification on the basis of nationally agreed standards and criteria;

b) Certification for learning achievement and qualification;

c) A range of national qualification levels – based on criteria with respect to responsibility, complexity of activities, and transferability of competencies;

d) The avoidance of duplication and overlapping of qualifications while assuring the inclusion of all training needs;

e) Modular character where achievement can be made in small steps and accumulated for gaining recognizable qualification;

f) Quality Assurance regime that would promote the portability of skills and labour market mobility;

g) Lifelong learning through an improved skill recognition system; recognition of prior learning whether in formal, non-formal or informal arrangements;

h) Open and flexible system which will permit competent individuals to accumulate their knowledge and skill through testing & certification into higher diploma and degree;

i) Different learning pathways – academic and vocational – that integrate formal and non-formal learning, notably learning in the workplace, and that offer vertical mobility from vocational to academic learning;

j) Guidance for individuals in their choice of training and career planning;

k) Comparability of general educational and vocational qualifications at appropriate levels;

l) Nationally agreed framework of affiliation and accreditation of institutions;

m) Multiple certification agencies/institutions will be encouraged within NVQF.

Analysis of National Vocational Education Framework in Other Countries


Australia, a country that has had an NQF for many years, has re-introduced vocational courses into schools (entitled ‘VET in Schools’) but the courses have been developed as ‘foundation’ vocational skills already defined and standardized by the Australian National Training Authority, the single tripartite body responsible for training standards.

Level-I Certificates from the VET system are regarded as educationally equivalent to Senior Certificates from secondary schools, and Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas may be issued by the VET system or by higher education institutes. Depending on the courses of study, credits may be allowed to be accumulated as participants choose to move between the three sectors. Some VET certificates may now be issued with little or no formal training, for example, to enterprise workers who have obtained their skills over a number of years on the job.

United Kingdom 

The National Qualifications Framework (NQF) in UK is a credit transfer system developed for qualifications in England, Wales, Namibia and Northern Ireland. The Framework has nine levels covering all levels of learning in secondary education, further education, vocational, and higher education. Different qualifications are divided into different levels, according to three important frameworks namely, the National Qualification Framework (NQF), the Qualification and Credit Framework (QCF) and last, but not least, the Framework for Higher Education qualifications.

Proposed Education Model for India

Based on the comparison of various education models across the world, the following education model is recommended for us-:

Recommendations regarding Vocational Education

National Board for Vocational Education

1.  A national level Board for vocational education should be established, called as National Board for Vocational Education.
For Example, In Australia, there is a similar authority established by the state and federal government called Australian National Training Authority (structure may vary) which plays a major role in :-

a) developing a national TVET system and national strategies with respect to vocational    education

b)  ensuring close interaction between industries and TVET providers

c)  developing effective training market for public and private needs

d)  enhancing efficiency and productivity of TVET providers

National Vocational Education Policy

2.  A National Vocational Policy should be formulated. The policy should establish equivalence for degrees, diplomas and certifications in the vocational education sector for lateral and vertical mobility across various learning sectors that is, secondary, vocational and higher education.

National Vocational Education Assessment and Accreditation Council

3.  National Vocational Assessment & Accreditation Council should be established to formulate a regulatory and quality/standards framework.

Introduction of SSC (Vocational)

4.  SSC (vocational) or its equivalent 10th grade certification in vocational stream should be created on similar lines as HSC (Vocational) at both national and state level. Vocational Stream should be introduced at 8th Grade through Bivalent Schools which may provide both conventional and vocational stream of education at secondary level. Presently, in India only sporadic courses as electives are being offered to students under bifocal scheme. However, a separate vocational stream offered by means of bivalent schools does not exist. Statistics reveal that employers prefer students with some general education skills in addition to vocational skills. Thus, in all schemes related to SSC (Vocational) general education courses should be emphasized. Eg. Problem Solving, English, Soft Skills, Business Management etc

For Eg, In China, there are three levels of vocational education:  junior secondary, senior secondary and tertiary. Junior vocational education refers to the vocational and technical education after primary school education and is a part of the 9-year compulsory education i.e from age group of 13-15 years.

Credit Banking and Accumulation

In ITI’s and ITC’s or other vocational education providers, a credit banking system can be established to accumulate required credits in order to grant SSC certificate. This will be especially useful for non-formal and unorganized sectors who do not have any prior formal education. These students in non formal sector may be allowed to take courses worth requisite credit points to obtain SSC Vocational.

In Philippines, the Non-Formal Education – Accreditation and Equivalency (NFE A&E) System enables Filipinos who are unable to avail  education through the formal school system or who have dropped out of formal school, obtain elementary and secondary education. NFE A&E test is a standardized paper- and pencil-based test featuring multiple-choice questions based on the expected learning outcomes articulated in the five learning strands of the NFE A&E Curriculum framework which enables students to obtain secondary level certification.

Lateral/Vertical Mobility

5. To ensure vertical mobility, ITIs, MSBVs, Community Colleges and other State Vocational Education Institutions may be granted recognition and accreditation from the respective State Board for Vocational Education to award SSC (Vocational) certification.  Vocational Education Providers, Community Colleges, JSS, CP’s, Vocational Junior Colleges may also be allowed to award Diplomas and Associate Degrees in addition to HSC (Vocational) certification. Students from Vocational Institutions can be given opportunity for lateral mobility into conventional stream by providing bridge (preparatory) courses. The proposed mobility structure is as indicated below-:

Industrial Participation

7. Private Participation from Industry and other players must be encouraged and is critical for the success of the vocational education growth in India.  Industry participation must be at all levels especially in Governance, Curriculum Design, Placements and Funding, Monitoring Outcome. Industry participation is also required for   creating production oriented Research and Innovation Labs.  A PPP Model can be also created where GOI and Industry can come together to invest in infrastructure and train students in latest skills

For Example, Penang Skills Development Center is a joint company training center. The Government invests in the center and uses it to carry out public training programs. The State provided the infrastructure and the industry partners donate equipment, labs, training modules and trainers. Industry thus has access to shared training facilities for in-service employees training. The Government uses the center as a training institute.

In India, National Skill Development Corporation India (NSDC) is a one of its kind, Public Private Partnership in India. It aims to promote skill development by catalyzing creation of large, quality, for-profit vocational institutions. Three business models established till date are as under-:

B-Able – Tie ups with corporate like L&T and Tata dealers have been established. Six centres providing classroom training and guaranteed 4 week apprenticeship with a prospective employers have been established.

Gram Tarang – Targeting tribal/naxal affected areas. 4 training centres created to train people in Auto CAD, advanced welding on advance machinery funded by NSDC.

8.  Teachers training is an important aspect for ensuring quality education in vocational stream. Vocational Educational Qualifications should be insisted (eg. BVE). Higher salaries must be offered to attract skilled teachers. Additional income incentive can also be given through in-service training programs which can be conducted by teachers for industry employees.  Continuous skill development and up-gradation of teachers can be done through Teachers Training Programs conducted by Teacher Training Centers

Salient Features of a Vocational University

1. A Society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 (Central Act No. 21 of 1860); or Any Public Trust registered under the State Public Trusts Act, or the Indian Trusts Act, 1882 (Central Act No. 2 of 1882) or under the relevant laws in any other State or Union Territory or a Company registered under Sec 25 Companies Act 1956.  The University may be established by State Government or by Private players (self-financed)

 2.  Land, construction and infrastructure requirement may focus on the need for creation of production oriented labs, training centers, innovation/testing labs, latest industry specific equipment etc.

 3.  Authorities of the University shall have active Industry participation. The administers of the University must have industrial experience.

4. Vocational University will offer all kinds of degree and diploma programs in vocational higher education sector (Bachelor, Masters, Doctoral) – New Degrees should be created eg. Bachelors in Vocational Studies

For example, In Germany, some of the examples of vocational degrees offered by Vocational Universities are as under-:

(a)    Bachelor in Automotive engineering, Clothing design by Berlin School of Applied Sciences (HTW),

(b)     Bachelor of Jewellery and Objects of Daily Life by Pforzheim University of Applied Sciences.

(c)     Bachelor of Motor Vehicle Industry, Bachelor of Printing and Media by Munich University of Applied Sciences

(d)   Bachelor of Arts in Facilities Air Conditioning by Biberach University of Applied Sciences.

5. Vocational University will emphasize on a different teaching – learning pedagogy with a special focus on skill based and hands-on learning and training.  Vocational University may offer vocational programs through online, distance and life-long learning mode.

6.  Vocational University Curriculum will emphasize   life coping skills and general educational skills   such as Liberal arts subjects, English competency, entrepreneur skills, problem solving, team work,   leadership, management courses etc.

7. Vocational Education Junior Colleges offering HSC (Vocational), Agencies / Community Colleges offering Associate Degrees or Diplomas may be given affiliation to the Vocational University to provide entry into the Bachelors Programs.

For Example, in China Educational groups are affiliated to the University and they offer associate degree programs. Structure of a typical Education Group is illustrated below-:

8. The University shall have a well defined Credit Banking and Transfer System.  The Credit System will allow multi-entry and multi-exit to students. The Credit System will also enable students to pursue opportunity for life-long learning and skill development.

For example, in Scotland, the Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework (SCQF) is a credit framework that promotes mobility and credit transfer within and between sectors of learning. Similarly, in UK, the National Vocational Qualification Framework simplifies credit transfer between different awarding bodies, especially for vocational qualifications.

9. Industry participation shall be sought on the Board of Management.  Industry representatives will be involved in governance and curriculum design. Production oriented Research and Innovation Labs will be setup in collaboration with Industry to promote regional economic growth.  Industry collaboration shall be sought for funding, placements and apprenticeship for students.  Department of In-Service Training shall be setup to encourage industry to send employees for regular skill development and up-gradation (this will also gain additional income for teachers).

10. Teachers training will be given special emphasis by the University. The Vocational University will setup a separate department for Teachers Training and Development in order to build teaching resources and research component. Continuous teacher training programs shall be emphasized by the University Management. A separate degree called Bachelor in Vocational Education (B.V.Ed) or B.Ed with specialization in vocational education is proposed to be introduced. This would be a mandatory requirement for hiring teachers for vocational education and training.

For Example, In United States, Bachelor of Vocational Education degrees  are offered for teachers teaching vocational courses.  In Sri Lanka, Research Cell of University of Vocational Technology has carried out research study on “Contribution of Instructional Resource Development programs in improving Teaching & Learning environment of TVET Centers”


The industrial and labour market trends clearly indicate the necessity of strengthening of vocational education in India. The introduction of vocational education at secondary level through bivalent schools and SSC (vocational) will enable us to broaden the vocational education base at secondary level of education. A clear pathway for vocational students to enter higher education streams is the way to move forward. Through this concept note we have made an endeavour to provide some of the possible solutions to address these issues.  Framing of vocational qualification framework, introduction of vocational degrees and setting up of a Vocational University with polytechnics, community colleges, CPs and other VEPs as affiliated colleges are some of the recommendations which require further deliberation at National and State level.

Prepared By:
Symbiosis Open Education Society
Director – Swati Mujumdar

Contributions from:

Adv. Ravi Bhardwaj
Major Sonali Kadam
Adv. Praneet Kumar

(The full length article can be accessed here)

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241 thoughts on “Need for Vocationalisation of Education in India”

  1. The article deals the Vocationalisation in good length . Concerns are being shown towards VET , but efforts are on Engineers and Skills of Engineers.

    I am attempting to work on this sector for Power Sector. I must congratulate Ms. Swati Mujumdar, Director, Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning for her contribution.

  2. A thoroughly written and informative article on Need of Vocationalization of Education in India.We have too much as informal assetts related to vocationalization in India but all that is yet to be utilized properly. Unless that is given its due share in efforts of vocationalization , the aspired goal can not be achieved.This article has touched that area in the beginning.Details can be chalked out. On the whole good effort.

  3. there is lot of neglegence in vocationalisation of education in there any central governments role to check the drawbacks.

  4. This artical is true,most of the student drop out the schools,the parents also not aware of the education ,now days government alto lot of the fund in skillfulness,but the funds are not use properly , so government give the grand to iti,itc for infra development,staff honorarium staff”s training ,Etc.then after the iti.itc, trig the youth, drop outs, children in free of the cost. This my ,suggastion, but i not understand English ariticals, in this in ta mail means i fully under stud. R.kamalakannan

  5. The paper gives a clear picture of India’s voc.edn. scenario.
    A study is needed at state level to identify the gaps.
    It shows the need & importance of Voc.Edn. & training

  6. The Aricle is nice, but ground is much dustier than we think from the conditioned Room. As I am marketing and selling vocational training service,for our low cost initiative following are the hard learnings.
    1) Go and offer the student, free of cost they do not turn out
    2) Ask them if they prepared thier resume after they pass out 99% do not have
    3) Ask them of they want to get employed..takes 4 seconds to say yes
    4) Show them a movie on finding employment with best possible actors.they sleep
    Friends, Initiatives,government,private can make 1000 strategies,pour the funds it takes lot more to make our young indians productive for the country.
    The motivation created an hour back will get lost in minutes.
    Yet, We have tasted success,but the whole marketing cost goes on few active crowd ( than in any other sector).

    Horse can be taken till river,it mouth can be dipped in water. but what to do if he do not drink water?
    It is bad to see unemployment too high. but among unemployed a huge lot do nto want to get employed at all. So we cannot beleive straight away on the statastics.
    You may visit our initiative on

  7. We are setting up a center at our school. But building construction cost is a hurdle. We have 4000 students in the school and the school is in remote , naxalite area in Maharashtra.

    Let me know if you have some ideas/options


  8. We run Vocational Course in Ahmedabad in Clinical Research. Mojidra Research is a Clinical Research Site Management Organization (SMO) as well as Clinical Research Training Institute.

    Indian Clinical research Industry was estimated at US$ 50 million in 2003, US$ 200 million in 2008 & US$ 1000 million in 2010. Clinical Research staff requirement was 800 in 2003, 4000 in 2008 & 20,000 in 2010. As per Mckinsey Report India is expected to reach US$ 6000 million by 2015 which indicates need of 60-80 thousand expertise in 2-3 years in Clinical Research Field.
    Eligibility Criteria
    Life Sciences: BSc. MSc. – Microbiology, Chemistry, Botany, Zoology, Biotechnology, Bioinformatics,
    Health science: B.Pharm, M.Pharm, BHMS, BAMS, BUMS, BVSc, Bpt, BSc. Nursing, MBBS, BDS

    For details: 9662344009; 9825656899

  9. A really useful article that should be looked at by education policy makers. In India all of us come across thousands of workers who are not trained but doing skilled jobs. Carpenters, barbers, masonry workers, plumbers, electricians, house keepers, farm labourers, coolies, auto and cab drivers, rickshaw pullers, washer men, and nearly a hundred other type of workers have helped all of us in several ways. Almost all of these workers pick up a line with the help of his/ her colleague without ever getting any formal training. I always feel that if these people get a chance to attend some relevant training in the chosen area, they will perform the same work much more effectively and occasionally may add some creativity in it. This will definitely do some value addition to their work. Work well done not only gives satisfaction to the person concerned but also brings respect to the profession. Those who have visited and stayed abroad for sometime know well that such workers earn much more in the western society. It was a shock to me to see in UK that how head of the dept. of a university greeted nicely to the floor cleaner. On analysis the reasons were two fold. First she was well paid, had some education and second used latest gadgets and skills of floor cleaning. Probably a similar thing is possible in several above works in our country also that can come within the ambit of vocational training.
    Today no (name sake) educated person or degree holder wants to pursue these career. How many people of this hugely populated country can go to the higher education, or can have business of some kind. The fact remains that a very large population have to take up the above kind of works. But if those works are done well, will also earn respect from now changing society.
    The article is very well written and practical in nature. Authors must be congratulated for the job well done.l

  10. First, I congratulate to Swati Mujumdar for her contribution on neglected area of Indian Education. Development of Vocational education is one of our need. We should concentrate on this issue for creating the jobs for new generation. We have to give a new shape to our present system with vocational educational education. More brain stroming and new policies are required for improvement.

  11. This is definitely one of the best articles I have read i congratulate To Swati Mam, i hope in future also we read your articles on indian education system.

  12. The article is very nice and should boost interest in those persons who work for the development of vocational education.
    I have designed one website to create interest in vocational electronics students and on this website I constantly try to provide maximum possible help to my students and any online student related to this trade.