Technology is touching every aspect of life and society. So, there is a dire need of backing up conventional study and teaching with technical education, as it will not only help in the development of the country, but also the person possessing those skills. A technically sound person is never short of jobs. Thus, technical education as per the needs of the present market will assist in uplifting society. Technical education is a part of education that is directly related to the gaining of information and skills needed in manufacturing and service industries.
In India, overall education can be divided into social, spiritual and vocational. Concerns related to society are covered under social education, personality development is the part of spiritual education and vocational education consists of technical education that further deals with branches like agriculture, medicine, engineering and commerce. Technical education is a skill-based education that primarily keeps the job prospects in mind. It provides training to the individual in a specific field
For acquiring technical education, there are two structural streams in India – formal and informal. Polytechnics, Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), Industrial Training Centers (ITCs), Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Vocationalisation of Secondary Education by the Ministry of Human Resource Development are few of the formal sources of technical education in India. Whereas self-learning and small private institutes providing short term technical course are covered under informal ones.
In the past few decades, India has seen a mushrooming of many small to medium technology-based enterprises because of the easy availability of labour. Though students are opting these formal technical institutes for training but interest of students in these institutes is quite less in India. Also the rate of enrollment in these vocational institutes is very low, as there is a high drop rate at secondary level in India.
Vocational training is given in class 11 and 12, but students who reach at this level focus on higher education rather than technical training. Moreover, employers look for candidates with strong academic record rather than just having a vocational training. Training institutes too lack trained staff and teachers. Most of the teachers who impart basic technical training are not well qualified. Also, we do not have quality institutions in India for technical education. Then the lack of interest and interaction from industry is another big challenge for the growth of technical education in India. Also, less emphasis is given on skill up-gradation during employment in India.
To overcome these hurdles, old curriculum must be updated with a new and advanced one. Also, new institutes must be set in to provide advance information regarding this field. Classes should be more interesting and interactive with full industry participation. Students must be made aware of their growth path in the selected stream.
It is not that our education system is full of flaws. We have a rich educational heritage and a very strong primary education system. Subject knowledge is extensively given in India, and Indians have vast theoretical knowledge as well. As compared to developed countries, India has a good number of higher educational institutions. But on the other hand, lack of an updated curriculum and specialized technical education are the flaws in our education system. Teachers do not play any role in addition to teaching. Once these hurdles are crossed, growth in technical education can be seen in India.
Historical Background of Technical Education in India
With British rule came the establishment of technical centers in India as they needed skilled labor for constructing roads, buildings and for other such works. Also, there was a requirement of skilled artisans and craftsmen to help the British army. Though superintending engineers, foremen and artificers were hired from Britain, skilled craftsmen were hired locally for all other low grade jobs. To improve their efficiency, they were given basic lessons in writing, reading, geometry and mechanics.
Also with the industrial revolution, the importance of technical education was felt because it brought the need of operating machines and completing the task skillfully within a short span of time. So, the perspective towards education started to change. Education in India that earlier used to focus more on personality development than skill was now focusing on the latter.
Though technical schools were present in Calcutta and Bombay even during 1825, an industrial school was established at Guindy, Madaras in 1842. To train civil engineers, the first engineering college was established in 1847 in Uttar Pradesh. In November 1856, the Calcutta College of Civil Engineering was established in Bengal. After a year, its name was changed to the Bengal Engineering College. With time and need, more and more such colleges came into existence in India. Great need of all kinds of engineers was felt after independence, so a number of engineering colleges were established keeping this in mind.
The Central Government has established the National Vocational Qualification Framework for motivating skill development. The basis of the National Vocational Qualification Framework are the nationally recognized occupational standards. For the proper functioning of the Framework, the National Skill Development Policy 2009 has proposed many features such as certification of learning, national qualification levels, quality assurance, lifelong learning, open and flexible system, framework of affiliations and accreditation, multiple certification agencies, etc.
New industrial and labour trends in India have clearly specified the need of vocational and technical education. But the base of technical education must be made strong at secondary level of education and a clear-cut path for the students to move ahead in this field must be made. More vocational and technical degrees of high quality along with vocational universities must be established.
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