Only 29% of students who enroll in class 9 go on to any form of tertiary education. A large number of the others remain unemployed, or are pushed into the informal sector, which accounts for ~90% of the work force. Most subjects currently taught in the secondary/higher secondary segment prepare students for higher education, as opposed to the world of work. Equipping school students with employability and life skills addresses this gap and has the potential to alter their long-term career outcomes.
The Revised Vocationalisation of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Scheme (2014) recommends the introduction of NSQF-aligned vocational education from Class IX onwards. 22 states are piloting this scheme across almost 3000 schools. However, there are implementation gaps including a theoretical curriculum and pedagogy, insufficient focus on industry alignment, and non-standardised teacher training.
At CSF, we believe that 14-17 olds in school should get exposed to four specific buckets of skills – digital literacy, English literacy /fluency, life skills, and career awareness. Further, implementation of the vocational scheme needs to be strengthened with quality control measures, greater horizontal and vertical mobility, and opportunities for internships and apprenticeships.