A popular chain of TV advertisements for a well known mobile connection brand shows students taking help of their mobile phones to study online technical courses. It is a common idea that technical or vocational courses help students get a better career path. Yet institutes delivering quality vocational or technical education in India are very few in number – they make up for around 3 percent of the total number of institutes in India. No wonder we often have situations when institutes go on a marketing spree, with their advertisements visible in every media-only to have been found of not having any proper accreditation required for providing technical education.
Technical education has always been popular in the world. So much so that we have universities come up with courses on:
1. Beatles-the band
2. Cannabis cultivation
4. Family enterprises, etc
There is a popular story that illustrates the case of vocational studies well. Once there was a cook who used to work in a roadside dhaba. Each day he used to prepare food for about 100 people. The truck drivers and others who used to frequent this joint were very fond of his cooking. So one day someone told him, “Why don’t you leave this petty job and go find yourself a better job with one of the big hotels of the city? You cook so well! I will give you a lift till the city in my truck.” The cook thought about this. Sure, he WAS a great chef. Definitely he could find himself a better job in the city.
He left his job after a couple of days and went to the nearest big city. Everybody was sure that he would one day return as a popular chef.
After a couple of months, he returned to the roadside dhaba and took up the same old job. The owner of the dhaba asked him why he came back. “Arre! All the places I went to looking for jobs kept on asking me stupid things like how many teaspoons of salt do I use while cooking butter chicken for 50 people. Do I look like I don’t know how to cook for 50 people? But who MEASURES salt while cooking? ”
Technical courses have immensely popular in the last few years. These days there are separate courses to teach how to design clothes, separate ones which teach how to design shoes and even separate ones which teach how to design accessories.
With this growing popularity, it is imperative that the students know the pros and cons of technical education.
1.Technical education offers a more hands on experience for the learners. It is actually better for kinaesthetic learners.
2.Technical education makes the student more “job-ready” by imparting them with the specific training required to be in a particular industry. The students find jobs more easily and sooner after completing their technical courses.
3.Often technical courses require the students to go through an internship to complete their course. Most of these internships are paid, which makes it easier for the students to earn while they learn
4.Technical education is a good way to bring the semi and un-skilled people into workforce. We often find a lot of people who are skilled at a particular job, but have no degree to prove it.
Short term technical courses (like Hunaar se rozgar Yojna) help to certify these people and bring them into mainstream workforce where they get standardises pays and other facilities. They also learn the basic standards that they should follow while working. This brings about standardised process of doing the job in the entire industry
1.But all’s not well. Technical education has limited flexibility. If the student does not find much opportunity in his/ her branch of studies, he/she would have very little options of moving onto some other field. At the least, he/she has to settle for a post much lower than what he/she would have got had they stuck to their own area of expertise. For example, imagine an engineer graduated out of IIT. (S)he would have a strong chance of getting a nice package and a cushiony job. Now if this person wants to move into, say, marketing, will the post and package be equally competitive?
2.Technical courses have added on expenses also, like costs for buying special uniforms (like budding chefs and nurses have to) or for buying special equipments. Moreover, these costs are also not covered in educational loans; making a greater hole I the students’ pockets
3.Finally one of the main concerns that the students face while trying to join any vocational courses remains mushrooming of non accredited institutes and duping the students. A lot of institutes impart technical courses these days for which they might not be duly accredited. A student passing out of these institutes do not find any worthy job because of this.
Technical education has become very popular in the recent times. Most of the students after finishing their school education are moving towards technical education rather than general streams. The shift in the interest of the students and their parents, these days, is towards the micro specialisation courses. This has made education less about learning and has converted it as a tool for getting employment. Of course, not everybody taking up a technical course does this solely to get a job; some also take up a particular course purely because of a genuine interest in the subject. But for the rest of the students, this takes away the enjoyment of learning- for them technical education becomes a rather dry, monotonous part of their life which they have nothing to look forward to. The scenario worsens if and when these students do not get a job as they had initially desired. These youngsters, who take up technical education just for a job, have a common idea of it – a place with huge glass windows overlooking a beautiful city and where young people in crisp formal clothing assemble to exchange their views over steaming cups of coffee. What these students do not realise is that, even now to get a good job, and most importantly to keep for a considerable amount of time, the candidate has to genuinely like the work.
So technical education, like any other form or type of education should not be seen merely as a way to get a good job quickly-it should rather be chosen keeping in mind the preference and capability of the student .