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How NSDC is blending education with technology and vocational training

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Express Computer recently hosted the maiden of Education Technology Summit in New Delhi. The summit witnessed leaders, experts, and veterans of the Indian education industry come together to discuss the trends and transformation in the industry. Gaurav Kapoor, Senior Head – Industry Partnership, CSR Engagements, Media & Advocacy, NSDC gave a keynote address on how NSDC is blending education with technology and vocational training for encashing the demographic dividend of India. Pointing out that the Indian education system has come a long way to become an education hub, he spoke about why it is important that the working labour force has a creative and productive focus.

“As the population grows, if employment opportunities become limited and people are not getting jobs, it will lead to social unrest and we don’t want to create this situation in India. The integration of education along with skill development, which we call the vocational education system, is a very important factor. We want to see how education and technology blend together and I don’t consider vocational education different from education. In fact, it has to be well blended within our school systems like it is there in many countries.”

Giving examples of how countries like Sweden, Finland and Norway practice a well integrated vocational system, which starts from class sixth, Kapoor said that these students start getting a flavour of what it means to have an alternate vocational education. They may or may not use it, going forward, but most of them are trained carpenters and mechanics. Germany has an effective system of dual education so people enroll with the companies, work as apprentices and they also go to higher education institutes and do their engineering degrees / diploma parallelly.

He further mentioned that India too has started focusing on building a skill university, in Haryana, Pune, Jaipur and Bhubaneshwar, where NSDC is looking at blended learning concept of dual education – studying at the institute from Monday to Thursday, and Friday and Saturday go out and working on the shop floor in a factory. This combined learning is crucial. Kapoor also apprised the audience about the recent amendment of the Apprenticeship Act.

“Apprenticeship is an important concept. Unfortunately, in our country, besides few large corporates and PSUs, this never took off. Apprenticeship has to be in this country and NSDC is trying to promote it in a big way. People who are doing engineering or diploma have to come into the labour force in a factory, on a shop floor, through an apprentice route. Currently, we are looking at apprenticeship which should be of a three-year kind of concept, which is blended with classroom learning and shop floor training. Though in India, the conditions and factors don’t allow us to have four days of formal education and two days on the shop floor, it is vice-versa. Four days of shop floor and two days of formal education is what we are looking at under the new Apprenticeship Act.”

Sharing the work being done by NSDC for improving skill sets, Kapoor highlighted, “We are working with 7,000 schools across Himachal Pradesh and Haryana where we are trying to see how in class 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th, vocational education can be built into the school curriculum – it has been quite successful. A student who starts learning through vocational education in class can get level 3 and level 4 certificate by the time he completes his 12th class, having an NSQF level 4 certificate to get into a job directly.”

Concluding his address, he stated, “B-Voc and Polytechnics trying to promote technical and vocational education as part of formal education is something which will take us right to the doorstep of the opportunity, which we are trying to unlock. If we play it well, we are poised well to take over most of Europe and reach close to China in terms of GDP and employment.”

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