Every man must have a vocation – a trade, a business, or a profession – in order to earn his livelihood. There are institutions for imparting various types of specialized training to help men qualify for this. The specialist is in demand everywhere, – in the office as well as in factories, and even in educational institutions.
There are schools for teaching medicine and engineering, accountancy and computer science. There are as many types of institutions for imparting vocational training as there are vocations. A person trained in one of these institutions will find greater scope to show his merits than one untrained. This is more than ever so today when vocations are multiplying, but ceased to be hereditary and child labour is becoming unlawful.
An untrained man in the modern world may even be a liability or burden to society. He is a quack; he knows only the ‘how’ of things; he has no idea of its ‘why’. Hence if there is any trouble anywhere, – breakdown in a machine, or mistake in a ledger, a mat-functioning of the gadget, he only pleads helplessness, grumbles and patches up the trouble anyhow, leading to a more serious fault. Reality there is no place for the untrained worker, in these days of specialised work.
In all technically advanced countries, like England, America, Russia, Germany, Japan – only a few are encouraged to go up for a general education. The majority of youngmen have to attend a preparatory school till their eighteenth year or thereabout, and then join some vocational school. It may be a technical school for learning the intricacies of bookkeeping and accountancy or handling a computer. Hence there is now craze for a specialised degree. It must be some school that makes him a specialist; otherwise, he finds himself handicapped in struggle for earning a decent living.
In our country, vocational education is yet to become popular. Very few students go in for the vocational stream in the H.S. Course; also very insignificant arrangements are made for it. They are expensive too. In most cases far too much stress is laid on theory. In a good system, theory and practice must be combined. To ensure this, along with class-work, there must be proper arrangements for ensuring practical training in a factory or a firm. The apprenticeship system, which attaches a boy to a firm or a factory, has some admirable features. In Russia, technical classes are attached to factories and agricultural farms, which provide workers with excellent opportunities for improving their knowledge and skill.
There is no doubt that vocational training makes a man more competent for his job. As a rule, a trained teacher would be more efficient than one untrained. A shop assistant or a sales representative who has learnt the theories of business organization or salesmanship, will be all the better for his job. A physician acquires invaluable experience if he puts in several years at a hospital as an intern.
For all these reasons, we need an extensive network of all sorts of vocational schools. Today if one has to learn the higher techniques of wireless telegraphy, one must go to Poona; for learning agriculture one has to go to PUSA, near Delhi, for aeronautics, computer technology, to Bangalore, and so on. The scope is limited, compared with the needs.
The best plan would be to attach training classes to various industrial organizations. The theoretical classes can be held in a school or a college and can be supplemented by a course of practical training in these institutions.