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B.Voc: Few takers for a course that makes students job-ready

Almost 30-40 percent seats have been vacant in the programme across 200 plus institutes that offer the course

March 24, 2019 / 01:29 PM IST
Learning never stops | The job and economic sphere is continually changing. These days newer programming, technology and basic general know-who is constantly evolving. Invest in yourself. Educating yourself of the newer tools, courses or expanding your knowledge base will never hurt. You don’t even need a formal course to do so. Many studies show that most millionaire are consistent readers. Read to gain information and self-educate. (Image Source: Reuters)

Learning never stops | The job and economic sphere is continually changing. These days newer programming, technology and basic general know-who is constantly evolving. Invest in yourself. Educating yourself of the newer tools, courses or expanding your knowledge base will never hurt. You don’t even need a formal course to do so. Many studies show that most millionaire are consistent readers. Read to gain information and self-educate. (Image Source: Reuters)

It has been five years since the University Grants Commission (UGC) launched the Bachelor of Vocation (B.Voc.) degree. The concept was exciting and the course structure offered flexibility. But lack of awareness and inadequate placements have led to poor uptake of the programme.

Almost 30-40 percent seats have been vacant in the programme across 200 plus institutes that offer the course.

Unlike a traditional degree that is given as a qualification for most jobs, B.Voc is still a distant cousin of the B.Sc, BA and B.Com degrees. Students are unsure about the job prospects considering that vocational education is perceived as one leading to blue-collar jobs in factories.

The three-year programme is supposed to promote skill development-based curriculum in higher education. The course structure has been designed for students wishing to upskill and increase their employability.

Any student completing their senior secondary examination is eligible for the three-year B.Voc degree programme. The course fee ranges from Rs 40,000-5 lakh. While those placed have received even a Rs 10 lakh annual salary package, the number of companies recruiting are low. This has dissuaded others from opting for the programme.

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Unlike other educational programmes, this course offers students the flexibility to opt out after one year. Those dropping out early get a one-year or two-year diploma certificate, though companies are not eager to recruit these dropouts.

Despite, the flexibility is leading to dropouts among the people who pursue the programme even as the class strength remains low.

Considering the low interest, almost 30 institutes have either removed the course from the list of undergraduate programmes or have barely any full-time faculty to teach.

While the intent of the programme was to promote specialised skills in sectors like technology, health, crafts among others, lack of awareness about the perceived job opportunities after completing the programme has been a factor of poor uptake of this course. Further, students have been unable to realise that flexible entry and exit points limit their employability opportunities.

At a time when all companies are demanding a skill-based education system in order to have job-ready candidates, programmes like B.Voc could be a game changer with their industry-specific theory/practical courses. The key here will be to bring it to the mainstream like the other undergraduate degree programmes.

Those with a B.Voc degree could become trainers or skilled professionals in technical fields. And unlike other courses, companies decide the curriculum. So what you learn is exactly what the work requirements will be.
M Saraswathy
first published: Mar 24, 2019 01:25 pm

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