1st December, 2006
The National Knowledge Commission (NKC) considers Vocational Education and
Training (VET) as an important element of the nation's education initiative. In order for
VET 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 to make them flexible, contemporary,
relevant, inclusive and creative. The Government is well aware of the important role of
VET and has already taken a number of important initiatives. T
hrough consultations with industry groups, academics, civil society and practitioners,
NKC has deliberated ways and means to strengthen these initiatives and recommends the
following long and short term strategies.
1. Place Vocational Education entirely under the Ministry of Human Resource
In view of the role of VET in human resource
development and importance of its linkages with other streams of education,
placing all aspects of VET under MHRD may be considered by the Government.
Currently, VET falls under the purview of MHRD as well as the Ministry of
Labour, which leads to fragmented management of the VET framework. MHRD
may consider setting up a National Institute of Vocational Education Planning and
Development to formulate strategy, advise the Government, and undertake
research and development in areas pertaining to technology and workforce
development. The functions and organizational structure of such an institute are at
These realities cannot be changed overnight. But the National Knowledge Commission
believes that the time has come for us to teach our people, ordinary people,
English as a language in schools. And we are convinced that action in this
sphere, starting now, would help us build an inclusive society and transform
India into a knowledge society. In just twelve years, it would provide our
school leavers with far more equal access to higher education and, three to
five years thereafter, much more equal access to employment opportunities.
2. Increase the flexibility of VET within the mainstream education system
through the following steps:
i. Aspects of general education (such as numeracy skills, etc.) should be retained
in VET as far as possible, to enable students to return to mainstream education
at a later stage.
ii. Courses in training institutes and polytechnics should have distinct tracks for
students of different educational attainments.
iii. Entry requirements for certain trades should reflect the requirement of the
trade (as appropriate, for instance the entry requirement of Class X could be
relaxed to Class VIII in some cases). Students should be permitted multiple
entry and exit options in the vocational education stream.
iv. Links should be established between the vocational education stream and
school education as well as higher education.
v. Courses devoted to certain skills training at the primary and secondary level
should be introduced in all schools.
vi. Vocational training should be made available in various literacy and adult
vii. Schemes for lifelong skill up-gradation, through short training programmes,
should be introduced.
viii. There should be a provision for generating a cadre of multi-skilled