Indian Vocational and Doctoral Education: Tale of Two Extremes

Indian post-secondary education faces acute problems at two extremes. On the one extreme is the skill-based vocational education and on the other is research-based doctoral education. Both are facing serious quantitative and qualitative challenges in terms of attracting talent, delivering value and meeting the needs of the society.

According to the Ministry of Labour & Employment, 12.8 million people enter labour force annually, however, vocational training capacity is available for only 4.3 million per annum. Further, a report by the World Bank noted that over 60 percent of all graduates of vocational education system in India remained unemployed, even three years after graduation.

Likewise, doctoral education system is struggling with the issue of optimizing quality and quantity. According to the latest official statistics released by UGC, number of PhDs awarded in 2007-08 increased by only 484 as compared to previous year. In the same period, student enrollment in “Graduate” programs (undergraduate/bachelor’s programs) increased by nearly 700,000. Despite such a small number of PhD graduates, the concerns of quality and rigor of training of PhDs have been growing.

India needs to addresses these challenges at the two extremes of post-secondary education. In order to address these challenges, five major changes are proposed at societal, policy and institutional levels. These changes are:

  • Recognise the importance of institutional diversity
  • Develop soft and hard infrastructure
  • Create a culture of information for prospective students
  • Collaborate with stakeholders including industry and institutions
  • Focus on quality

The proposed solutions for addressing the challenges with vocational and doctoral education are neither easy nor fast, but they are effective and far-reaching. What are your thoughts?

Here is the detailed article published in EDU magazine:

Dr. Rahul Choudaha

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