Kozhikode: At a time when the state boards were stressing on vocational studies adding new streams, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has failed to tap its potential for building a strong career foundation for students.
A recent circular to its affiliated schools says from next academic year, among the 47 option subjects under vocational studies, 34 are dropped. The students who are keen on a vocation will have to choose from the remaining 13.
The CBSE has also remodelled its assessment scheme allowing students of Class X in vocational stream who fail in social science, math or science to replace it with a vocational subject.
The decision has evoked a mixed response from educational experts.
“Vocational education refers to a system or course of study which prepares individuals for jobs based on a manual or practical activities. It is non-academic in nature, related to a particular trade, occupation or vocation. With changes in world economies, the labour market has become more specialised, and the demand for higher levels of skills both in government and business sectors started increasing," Vocational Higher Secondary Teacher’s Association executive member Ramachandran Nambiar said.
"Our state rightly tapped this potential and began promoting vocational studies some decades ago, because all students in a school do not become a doctor or engineer. Hence in any education system, vocational training should be a must."
M. Abdul Nazar, treasurer, All Kerala Sahodaya School Complex, says the primary reason behind the CBSE move was the low enrollment of students. So it retained subjects that can be of use for them.
“Fewer students under CBSE opt for vocational studies as their target is always professional courses," he said. Education counsellor Preetha Vinod feels subjects like poultry nutrition and physiology, management of dairy animals, health education, communication, confectionary, music aesthetics, office communication, first aid and emergency medical care and integrated transport operations are not at all attractive.
"Very rarely students find an opportunity in these sectors, especially during schooling. Hence CBSE took a right decision weeding out unwanted subjects and sticking on those useful to them at some point in their career," she said.
As per the National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF), they have to study six subjects and the sixth is additional. The CBSE offers two streams for Class X — academic and vocational — with five and six subjects respectively.
Academic electives also on the chopping block
The 13 subjects the CBSE retained are dynamics of retailing, information technology, security, automobile technology, introduction to the financial market, introduction to tourism, beauty and wellness, basic agriculture, food production, front office operations, banking and insurance, marketing and sales, and healthcare services.
The circular issued a week ago says vocational studies carry 100 marks - equally divided between board exam and internal assessment or the practical exam.
A candidate will have to score 33 percent marks in both for a pass.
The CBSE has also decided to do away with seven academic electives - philosophy, creative writing and translation studies, heritage craft, graphic design, human rights and gender studies, theatre studies, and library and information science.
The 34 dropped subjects include poultry nutrition and physiology, management of dairy animals, health education, communication, confectionary, music aesthetics, office communication, first aid and emergency medical care, and integrated transport operations.