It’s not surprising that Gurgaon, the residential, commercial cum industrial hub of NCR, is considered a good ‘test’ market – even by the government. In the field of education, although private institutions (including training and coaching institutes) have ruled supreme in the City, the govt. too has spotted the opportunity. In line with the National government’s emphasis on Skill Development and skill-based training, and amid a global focus on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), the State govt. has added many courses and govt. schools to the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF). Today, in Gurgaon, 30 govt. schools are offering 10 Vocational Skill courses. These are in:
- Beauty & Wellness
- Media Entertainment, including Animation
- Physical Education & Sports
- Travel and Tourism
- Patient Care Assistance
- Information Technology & Information Technology Enabled Services (IT & ITES).
Each Government school runs two sessions, with separate sets of vocational teachers. Further, guest lecturers visit these schools for special classes. This helps the students get a feel of the real world. The students are also given an opportunity to undertake fieldwork. The courses are offered to students of Classes Nine to Twelve and the books are provided by the government. The main textbooks are in English, though guidebooks in Hindi are available in school libraries. The student strength in each class is around 25-30.
The vocational subjects are considered like any other optional subject. Examinations are conducted for these subjects in line with the general system of examination. After passing their exams the students are given certificates from the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), which is a big help for the students who intend to take up further studies abroad. This certificate is internationally recognised, and the syllabi offered for these vocational courses come under the purview of the National Occupational Standard (NOS). The subject experts help the students enhance their talent and develop superior skills. The schools are confident that such courses will help students get ready employment. Prashant, a successful student from the Sanskriti Model School, says that on passing out he was immediately offered a job by Vishal Mega Mart, a retail business outfit. “However, I did not opt for the job as I want to study further. I want to complete my graduation and hence I took admission in DU (Delhi University),” he says. He adds that the specialisation acquired by the students through vocational courses is enabling them to find jobs fairly quickly, and this has been of great help to many needy students. The vocational courses will be implemented in colleges also, thereby enabling students at the university level to raise their skills and employability. During the classes, students are also taught soft skills, to develop their communication capability. Given the importance of agriculture in Haryana, the government schools offer a course in Agriculture education. In fact in Haryana a number of public and private institutions offer elaborate courses on agriculture and scientific farming, research, teaching and inspection, besides the commercial activities of establishing farms, plantations, orchards and agri exports. The Haryana government has very recently announced that Gurgaon will have its own university. The need for such a university was also felt on account of the mushrooming of many a private university in the City, with question marks over the quality of education imparted by some of them. “Private institutions are expensive and have caused financial hardship to many families, which have had to cough up huge sums in order to ‘secure’ the future of their children. They had little choice. The government’s decision to introduce vocational courses has been of great help. Our school has ‘specialised’ on 2 course offerings – (Patient) Care Assistance and Beauty & Wellness. The students are very excited as there is something new to learn and they can also earn through this learning subsequently. They can even start their own businesses. Doctors from Max Life visit our school as guest lecturers,” says Indu Yadav, Principal of Bheem Nagar Government College. The Principal of Jacobpura Government School, Sheel Kumari, says, ”We implemented these courses in our school only in 2013, hence we do not have a batch that has completed the entire course.” She compliments the State government for such a step because it has helped the students and brought a smile to the faces of their guardians. “The students get the opportunity to develop a strong base and also a chance to work after completing their higher secondary studies,” she says. The courses are offered at 4 levels - Level One to Four - Class Nine being Level One and Class Twelve being Level Four. “In our school we have two specialties, namely Retail and Beauty & Wellness,” Ms Kumari adds. “The Millennium City is the hub of IT companies and we want our students to be a part of these companies. They should be capable of competing with the students passing out from private schools. The government is also doing its bit to check the number of dropouts. Vishal Mega Mart, Spencers and Big Bazaar are providing good placement opportunities to the students of government schools and colleges. Doctors from Civil Hospital and other private hospitals also visit these schools to hire personnel to man their healthcare units. The subjects that are currently being offered suit such demands,” says an NSQF source. The induction of these professional, vocational courses will bolster the number of students attending government colleges, helping them to expand further to meet the emerging employment demands, he adds.