With the National Education Policy 2020 laying emphasis on the introduction of vocational courses right from the school level, various stakeholders are looking for possibilities to explore the opportunity.
A fundamental way to address the existing issue of the skill gap in the country across industry sectors and organisations is by introducing vocational courses right from the school level. Through such efforts, we not only create awareness about several professions among the youth but also provide them with an opportunity to explore their interests and hone their skills from a young age.
One such innovative intervention by Tata STRIVE at the school level can be witnessed in the Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh. Ladakh is located in the northernmost part of India and is part of the westernmost part of the Himalayas. This strategically located UT largely depends on its tourism and hospitality industry, which have a direct bearing on its socio-economic scenario. Its capital city Leh alone houses more than 250 hotels, guest houses and homestays. Therefore, it is of strategic importance to train the youth of Ladakh in necessary hospitality skills to support them in earning a decent livelihood close to their homes.
Learn more about Tata STRIVE’s courses and their initiatives in skill development – https://nationalskillsnetwork.in/tata-strive/
Vocational education in schools in Ladakh by Tata STRIVE
Tata STRIVE’s interventions in the Union Territory of Ladakh started with the Samagra Shiksha programme, under which Tata STRIVE has been implementing hospitality training in six schools in Ladakh. The interventions have since expanded to cover hospitality training under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna (PMKVY) for homestay staff and other youth from Ladakh, looking to build a career in the local hospitality market.
Thus, despite multiple challenges like high altitude, extreme climate, and dispersed population, Ladakh has become a strategic location for Tata STRIVE and the various programmes of Tata STRIVE are likely to support the ever-expanding hospitality sector in the region.
Need for vocational education from the school level
The school education system in India has been resistant to change and despite innumerable attempts to transform school education, little has changed over the years. Schools have not been focused on delivering employment-based education to the school-going children (15-20 years) that could become self-reliant and contribute to the socio-economic development of the country. 65% of the Indian population is young and that too is under the prime working age (15-35 years). To break from the traditional education practices, there is a huge need for investing in a vocational learning methodology that can generate employment for the younger generation.
The Union Budget, 2018-19, proposed to treat school education holistically without segmentation from pre-nursery to Class 12. Samagra Shiksha was thus conceived as an overarching programme for the school education sector extending from pre-school to class 12. One of the major objectives of the scheme is to promote vocational education for classes 9 to 12, by integrating vocational education with general academic education in all Secondary/Senior Secondary schools.
Tata STRIVE’s intervention in schools in Ladakh
Tata STRIVE, under the Samagra Shiksha scheme, has been conducting Hospitality Training in six schools in the Leh district, since May 2021, and students from classes 9 to 12 are the beneficiaries of the programme. The two job roles are –
- Food and Beverage Service Trainee for classes 9th and 10th
- Tour Guide for the classes 11th and 12th
Tata STRIVE has deployed six facilitators across the six schools. The facilitators have been identified based on the educational qualification requirement as per the requirement of the scheme and required standards set by Tata STRIVE. It is also ensured that some of the intrinsic processes of Tata STRIVE including digital assessments, QA, etc. are implemented as part of the programme. So far, Tata STRIVE has successfully certified more than 240 youth across the six schools.
Way forward for the Tata STRIVE’s intervention in vocationalisation of school education
Currently, Tata STRIVE is offering training under the scheme in six schools in Ladakh and has the approval of covering another 22 schools in Telangana. However, Tata STRIVE would like to expand the programme and reach out to many other states in the country in the coming years.
Overall, the Samagra Shiksha aims to cover 1.16 million Government and Government aided schools. Currently, the vocational education component has been extended to more than 14,000 schools across the country, and this number is likely to increase exponentially in the next couple of years. More than 55 trades are covered as part of the scheme, many of which are also a part of Tata STRIVE’s offerings.
Vocational courses across different levels prepare youth in a particular trade, vocation or profession. Undergoing vocational training from a young age helps the students in discovering their interests and become competent in a particular vocation over the years. By being exposed to vocational courses from the school level, children are able to build their capacities, improve their employability, be aware of the career pathway and also be globally competitive by the time they enter the workforce. This innovative initiative by Tata STRIVE in Ladakh schools is creating an impact in the region and is a much-needed push for the vocationalisation of schools in India.