All my life I’ve been a student at schools that are affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) (except for a few years in Goa) One of the advantages of CBSE is that the syllabus/material doesn’t change much especially when you move across the country. And this was a choice taken by my parents because they knew that we were nomads and my education shouldn’t take a hit because of us shifting.
So why am I writing a post like this one suddenly ? Well I was looking for some guide/book on Supply Chain the other day to understand the basics and came across this Pandora box by CBSE – Vocational subjects in secondary schools. And looking at the CBSE Vocational Subjects list, I wondered why aren’t they taught to everyone ?
What is a Vocational Subject ?
The only time one would come across the various subjects part of the CBSE curriculum would be when they see the CBSE board exam time table. Usually the exam is spread over a month while we had opted only for 5 subjects ! That’s when we were like “Who studies the other subjects?” Well, it turns out that those CBSE vocational subjects are the ones that are most apt for real life situations I believe. Vocational Subject by CBSE are subjects that help people develop real life skills and practical knowledge related to employment.
CBSE Vocational Subjects – Why I love them
Like I said earlier, I came across these subjects only last week and fell in love with them. In fact I wondered that had I studied these subjects back then, I would have been a different person all together ! If you have been following my blog, you already know that I’m a supporter to providing financial literacy to students at an early age. Savings, Investment instruments are things that must be taught in schools so that students go on to save money and build wealth smartly instead of blindly following the herd.
The list of vocational subjects in CBSE is extremely expansive and one can learn the following real life subjects (not mentioning all of them):
- Automobile Technology – engines, design, repair of automobiles
- Logistics & Supply Chain – E2E supply chain, process & Documentation
- Health & Beauty Studies – if you aspire to be a beautician
- Fashion Design & Innovation – break free the designer in you
- Travel & Tourism – for the aspiring tourist guide
- Financial & Market Management – must be made a main subject
- Marketing & Salesmanship – would have helped in my MBA
- Retail – everything about how retail works
There are about 30 CBSE vocational subjects and the entire list can be found here.
Why Vocational Subjects aren’t taught in most schools ?
Even though there are so many vocational subjects offered by CBSE, we hardly see 5-6 subjects taught. Why is that ? Well I attribute it to the following reasons:
- Lack of teachers – the schools currently are facing shortage of teachers for the main subjects. Imagine if they offer a basket of 30 subjects, how many teachers would they need ?
- Lack of students – there won’t be many students who would want to opt for a particular subject and that would be mean paying salary to the teacher without them doing anything !
- Lack of support from parents – though we have become so liberal in terms of what our kids want to study. Many parents would still want their kids to be a Doctor or an Engineer. With that thought, I wonder how many parents would be comfortable in their child studying retail or banking !
Vocational Subjects must be treated as main subjects
As mentioned earlier, these vocational subjects by CBSE provide real life skills to students. For instance if one would have taken up the financial market management course, they would already be aware of what the stock market is and how to invest in mutual funds. And with that, we would have more informed investors today taking wise decision. Even today I impart my knowledge about financial markets to anyone in need because I learnt it the hard way.
I also got a chance to interview a teacher from a well known school in New Delhi, Mrs. Smita Sharma. She believes that vocational subjects are not given importance like other subjects because Indian curriculum is framed in a way that the total limelight is taken by standard subjects. She asserts that there’s definitely a need to introduce these vocational subjects to a larger group and that a child cannot be measured only based on test paper marks. Further she also adds that people are pursuing these as careers but the ratio is less. Parents don’t seem to see their children making a career in the area of vocational subjects. Government must take this up and make necessary amendments to the current curriculum.
Lastly, I feel that it would be a good idea to introduce these vocational subjects a little early in schools – 8 or 9th grade. That would enable students to make a wise choice about their careers. An aspiring sales person wouldn’t be breaking their head in memorizing chemical reactions ! Also students would be able identify their strengths at a much younger age. What do you think ? Should Vocational Courses be treated as main subjects ? What CBSE Vocational Subjects would you have loved to study ? Mention your choices in the comments below or tweet to me at @Atulmaharaj