Vocational Education in India

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    AMONG the many baffling problems confronting the authorities responsible for education in India are the prevalence of unemployment among ex-students of high schools, intermediate colleges and universities, and the scarcity of young people trained for practical work in industry. Mr. A. Abbott was invited as an expert in vocational education to bring his special knowledge to bear on these problems, and delivered a lecture on the subject at the Royal Society of Arts (Journal, March 10). His lecture is largely based on observations in the Punjab, the United Provinces, Delhi, and the States of Hyderabad and Baroda. It outlines a scheme providing for vocational schools of three grades: the vocational high school, the technical college and the postgraduate stage. The first and, for the time being, most important would be open to students who had completed eight years of ‘general’ education. As an exception, prospective artisans of the small-scale industries would be admitted to industrial schools if qualified in arithmetic, reading and writing by six years of general schooling. These would devote a third of their time in the industrial school to general subjects, including drawing, and spend the remainder in workshop exercises. But the keynote of the lecture is ‘planning’. The first step must be the establishment of machinery for effective consultation between industry and educational organizations. This would take the form of advisory councils, provincial and local. The former would in the first instance survey the needs of industry and plan a provincial scheme. On the local council would devolve the critical function of estimating the number of recruits needed annually for each calling, a consideration too often ignored in the provision of opportunities for advanced literary education. Entry to the technical colleges would be restricted to students who had not only gained the leaving certificate of a higher secondary school with credits in mathematics and science, involving ordinarily eleven years of schooling, but also had already a prospect, more or less assured, of finding employment.

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    Vocational Education in India. Nature 143, 1017 (1939) doi:10.1038/1431017a0

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