Skill education: Reinventing education in the time of pandemic
In our highly-populated country, where the increasing rate of youth unemployment is one of the biggest concerns, it’s pivotal that we should rethink our education practices and recreate avenues for vocational skill education in order to have sustainable living. No doubt, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much-ambition National Education Policy is a bold step towards reinventing the possibilities in skill education. The policy puts its prime focus on imparting gainful skills through the formal education so that the students can earn decent income for sustainable livelihood when the way we are working is also changing at a rapid pace.
With the largest youth population in the world, India currently stands at a threshold of demographic divide. While unemployment remains high among young population during the coronavirus pandemic, joblessness has become a bigger challenge for the educated youth. According to a recent study, India’s unemployment rate in India averaged 8.70 percent from 2018 until 2020, reaching an all time high of 23.50 percent in April of 2020 and a record low of 6.50 percent in November of 2020. It has been witnessed that the unemployment rate is increasing despite the expansion of school and educational institutes because of the fact that our education system is not skill-based.
If various national and international reports are to be believed, only a small percentage, 5% to 8% of the Indian labour force belonging to the age group of 20-24 years obtained vocational skills through formal means; whereas the percentage of skilled workforce in industrialized countries is quite high as compared to our country. It is between 60% and 96%. Developed nations including UK, Germany, Australia, Japan, France, and China have been supporting skill education right from the school level on a large scale.
School education should be multi-disciplinary
Mostly schools in India have an academic-centric model and the process of learning is confined to classrooms. Introducing skill training in schools should be a part of an integrated curriculum. Academics should complement the process of skill development, and vice versa. Children can choose from various options like photography, agriculture, banking and healthcare. Giving them these options at the onset of teenage will give them the leverage of choosing early. This, in turn, will help establish strong foundations for a thriving future on the professional front.
Skill education for first generation learners
The economic gap between the rich and poor is becoming wider every day. And, the best way to reduce the void was making education compulsory for the weaker section of the society too. But the biggest issue with the economically and socially marginalised communities is they can’t afford the quality education, which thereby is making the problem only grow. This is also one of the main reasons behind the increase in the dropout rate. The unexpected end to their education is the result of either the money constraints they have or because they don’t get adequate support from the rest of the family members. Here, again, skilling can act as a solution to both the issues.
Blended learning and ICT supported learning
Blended learning is an innovative concept that embraces the advantages of both traditional teaching in the classroom and ICT supported learning including both offline learning and online learning. It has scope for collaborative learning; constructive learning and computer assisted learning (CAI). It has been seen that the courses which we follow are not regularly revised, books are not updated and teachers are not interested in upgrading their skills. As a result students are not well prepared to meet the demands of the modern market and professions. To make their knowledge correlate with the present technological advancement and globalization, ICT supported teaching learning process is the need of the hour.