Students in schools following the state board curriculum will be able to study a vocational subject instead of a second or third language in Class 9 and 10 from the next academic year. The state school education department is training government-aided schools to teach automobile, information technology, retail and multiple skills such as plumbing and carpentry as subjects.
The education department had introduced the skill development curriculum in 350 schools across the state on a pilot basis a couple of years ago. It is aimed at providing early vocational training to students in line with the new vocational education policy of Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), a central government scheme.
The curriculum has been extended to other aided schools from this year and 30 teachers will be trained in skill development for a period of one year starting from July 11. After undergoing the training, the teachers will be able to implement the curriculum in their respective schools and train others. These teachers will also be paid an extra salary of Rs650 a month for the work.
“We had tested the curriculum in selected schools, now we are training schools in phases to implement it,” said Nand Kumar, principal secretary of the department. “Once the teachers are trained, they can help their schools in selecting the subjects for the new academic year.” One of the unique aspects of the vocational curriculum is that it is focused on hands-on learning. In the period of one year, students will have to work as an apprentice for three months. The subjects will carry 100 marks each, out of which, as many as 70 marks will be for practical exams.
Even private schools said that they would be willing to offer the curriculum.
“Our students would be interested in subjects such as healthcare and information technology as these two fields are growing fast,” said Savita Venkat, principal, Bombay Cambridge School, Andheri East. “If the state board allows private schools to take up the subjects, we would consider it.”
Some teachers said that the subjects should not be offered in lieu for languages. “If the state government wants to promote mother tongues and Marathi, they should not allow students to drop these languages for vocational subjects,” said Uday Nare, senior teacher, Hansraj Morarji Public School, Andheri. “Students will obviously opt for vocational subjects as they would be considered more scoring than languages.”