The greatest challenge for education is to meet the needs of the society. The present day need of Indian society is not simply to acquire general education, but to increase productivity. Obviously, therefore, education should come into closer relationship with productivity. This function of education can be achieved by giving a strong vocational basis to secondary education and by giving more emphasis on agricultural and technological, job-oriented education at the University stage.
Vocational training existed in some form or the other even in ancient India. People had to cut wood, wear cloth, prepare their furniture, repair their huts, work on the farm and do various other similar jobs. The son would learn the trade from his parents and gain mastery in the art and then, in turn pass his skill on to his son.
Vocational education (vocationalisation) means training in some vacation at the higher secondary level along with general education. Indian Education Commission observed, “We visualize the future trend of school education to be towards a fruitful mingling of general and vocational education-general education containing some elements of the pre-vocational and technical education, and vocational education, in turn, having an element of general education… ”
It is commonly agreed that education must be related to the needs and aspirations of the people. The most pressing need of the country is to produce more. To achieve this end, one of the most important measures is to vocationalise education, especially at the secondary school level to meet, the needs of Agriculture, Trade and Industry. The concept of vcoationalisation, as stated by the Kotbari Commission, moans to provide a strong vocational bias to secondary education, It docs not mean that general and vocational education should be segregated, rather the two should be galvanized to deliver (he goods
The need and importance of vocational education can be assessed, and is further high-lighted, by having a look at its various uses and advantages: (1) Vocational education aims at reducing unemployment among the educated youth and thus help solving the giant problem of unemployment; (2) It will entail many economic benefits. It means increased productivity which brings economic prosperity to the people and to the country at large; (3) It suits individual aptitudes, and so, ensures better results; (4) It instills among the youth a sense of security and usefulness, which goes a long way to make them better citizens.
But vocationalisation should not be clone in an unsystematic or haphazard manner. Vocational education should be imparted in proportion to the manpower requirements, otherwise it will result in a grave situation of unemployed technocrats,
So far, very little advance has been made in the field of vocational education. Some of the causes of the slow progress of vocationalisation are : (1) III planning and a rather casual attitude of the Centre or the States; (2) Biased attitude of people, considering vocational education as inferior education; (3) Lack of finances, workshops etc; (4) Obsolete vocations such as book binding and carpentry in this age of electronics and advanced technology; (5) No attempt to organize the training of teachers for technical subjects (6) Lack of sufficient co-ordination and co-operation between the different departments of the Government—Directorate of Labour and the Directorate of Education.
What measures should be adopted to vocationalise education? The Kothari Commission and the Secondary Education Commission suggested some measures. They be enumerated below:
1. Expansion of Vocational Education at the lower secondary and higher secondary stage.
2. Administration of vocational education by the States Government after bringing about a proper co-ordination between various State Departments.
3. Diversified courses, divided into seven streams.
4. Establishment of Multipurpose schools where the diversified courses will be taught.
5. Introduction of vocational guidance services in schools and colleges—Guidance Movement.
6 Part-time Vocational educations in leisure times or during vacation with specialized courses in agriculture, crafts and for girls and adults, both men and women.
The concept of Vocational education, as propounded by Kothari Commission is no doubt excellent. But the need of the hour is action, not contemplation and theorizing. Still, the pace of implementation is extremely slow. Recently some courses in computer programming and electronics have been started. But they have not been made part of vocational education. There is great need for acceleration of the pace of progress in vocationalisation of education.