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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Vocational Training

 Vocational training


The focus of teaching is now shifting from imparting basic education to giving students employable skills

Aparadigm shift can be seen in the present educational model in that it is no longer confined to teaching the basics. It focuses instead on imparting employable skills to make children self-dependent. Various nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) are, therefore, working towards identifying and nurturing the latent talent and skills of students at their schools for the underprivileged. 


To this end, Literacy India recently opened a knowledge centre that will impart multimedia skills to students. Dell Foundation has taken the responsibility of providing the computers for the knowledge centre at Bajgera Village, Gurgaon. The centre aims to impart advanced skills in computer education like multimedia, 3D imaging, desktop publishing and sound and video editing among others. 
   The NGO works for underprivileged children and aims to provide them an opportunity and a platform to equip themselves with basic education and additional life skills. Says Indraani Singh, secretary, Literacy India: "We believe in a '3E' model that focuses on empowerment, education and employment. Therefore, we impart various marketable skills to children from an early age, so that they can be self-dependent." Singh is a pilot by profession. 
   Singh adds: "We are focussing on bringing about a qualitative change in the lives of these children. They are encouraged to develop their personality by making education a fun activity, which involves workshops on group learning methods, drama, dance, creative arts and other non-traditional methods of learning. We also try to give the children a better perspective and adequate industry exposure." 
   Dell has equipped the centre with 20 computers. Informs Vivek Mathur, site director (Gurgaon), Dell International Services: "The centre working with state-of-the-art Dell Optiplex 330 desktop computers that will be equipped with pertinent software to teach advanced applications. The children, aged 13-19, will get an opportunity to move beyond basic computer education and explore the exciting world of advanced software applications." 


Similarly, Katha schools are imparting vocational skills through their 'Katha School of Entrepreneurship', which focus on identifying, nurturing and developing latent skills of students for their all-round development. 
   Informs Parvinder Kaur, director, Katha: "In our School for Entrepreneurship, we take students right from class IV and work on their skills. There are some children who are not interested in studies, so this way they can at least learn to become selfdependent." 
   Elaborating on the courses that are taught, she says: "We have courses ranging from bakery and confectionery, cutting and tailoring, embroidery, soft toys to even electronics and wood craft.We recently introduced professional courses in beauty consulting, auto repairing, professional secretariat, restaurant management, tourism and airhostess and nurse training for the Kathashala and community students. In addition, we also arrange for industry internships for these students." 
   Katha believes in a 'story pedagogy' and the theme for the forthcoming session is 'Incredible India'. Its teachertraining programme concluded recently wherein the teachers had prepared innovative teaching learning materials based on the theme that will be taught throughout the next academic session. 


For The Family India, another NGO that works for underprivileged children in and around Delhi, the emphasis is on 'soft skills'. Says Rohit Kumar, one of its project co-ordinators: "We are working towards imparting effective communication skills to children as it has become indispensable in today's day and age. Usually students lack confidence, organisation and time management skills and so on, so we have organised a series of training programmes for them to work on such skills. We hope that eventually they can come across as bold and confident people when they have to face the outside world." 


The Pardada Pardadi Educational Society (PPES), which aims to educate the girl child, is also working on similar lines as here, girls are given training in two streams - value based education for social empowerment and vocational training to make home furnishings, from class IV onwards. 
   PPES guarantees employment to all its graduates after they complete their school. Informs Renuka Gupta, director, PPES: "As part of our school training, some of the students with leadership skills are groomed to become a part of PPES. Hence most of the jobs in PPES are offered to our graduates. Similarly, vocational skill training imparted to students helps them in getting regular orders from the marketing department of PPES that sells the products made by students. Many of our students are encouraged and supported to go for further studies so that they can be gainfully employed. Students are also given computer skills and we also plan to set up a language lab for imparting language skills ."


Sunil Sharma


Dil Se Desi Group


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