With few students opting for vocational subjects in schools, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has constituted a committee to review vocational courses and do away with those that are not finding enough takers.
Sample this: 11 lakh students of will appear for CBSE’s Class XII examination this year. Of these, those who have opted for vocational courses include — six for retail services, 11 for health centre management, 16 for integrated transport operations, 34 for confectionary courses, and 55 for front office operations. There are about 100 courses on offer under vocational studies.
“The main reason for fewer students opting for vocational subjects is to do with the mindset of people. Vocational courses are considered as meant for below-average students — which is clearly not the case. Also, when vocational courses were introduced years back, they didn’t come with proper planning such as provision for proper labs, instructors, hands-on practice etc, hence students suffered. But the current policy has removed those lacunae and more jobs are being created, but it will take time (to catch on),” said Inderjeet Dagar, principal, college of vocational studies, Delhi university.
As it is, students in class XII could choose one language and one or two subjects from science/commerce/humanities streams and two or three from vocational subjects. In Class X, a student can choose a vocational course as an additional subject, and its scores are added to the overall results. If vocational courses are taken as additional subjects in Class XII, the score is not added to overall results.
The committee set up by the CBSE will analyse data for the past few years and recommend the courses that need to be dropped. Sources said the issue was raised at the governing body meeting of the CBSE held last year, following which the committee was constituted.
Trimming the courses would also help the board reduce the examination schedule from 45 days at present to a month.
“The CBSE is absolutely right in conducting this exercise as without assessing the demand for a course, there is no point running it. The focus should be on few but quality vocational courses,” said Dagar.
Courses that have got favourable response from students are mass media studies (1,126 students), stenography English (1,867), entrepreneurship (11,762), database management application (864), and web application (843).
Apart from the issue of mindset as pointed by Dagar, vocational courses also lose sheen at Class XII level because very few universities offer graduation courses in these subjects.
Most of the 18,000 CBSE schools in the country don’t offer any vocational course at all.
“We don’t offer vocational courses in class XII as there are no takers for, say, book-keeping, legal studies, retail services, gardening and horticulture. Also, Delhi University either doesn’t accept these courses or doesn’t offer such courses in graduation,” said Ameeta Wattal, principal of Springdales School, Delhi. “Vocational courses need to be in sync with demand.”