WEF report: school-to-work transition major hurdle in India

WEF's Education 4.0 Report states the lack vocational courses in students' curriculum and a rough transition into a school-to-work environment.

Education 4.0 Report states S2W transition difficult. (Picture: Shutterstock)Education 4.0 Report states S2W transition difficult. (Picture: Shutterstock)

Press Trust of India | October 7, 2022 | 07:29 PM IST

NEW DELHI: The school-to-work transition process is still facing major hurdles in India and a lack of coordinated efforts has resulted in an isolated skilling system that has not been able to achieve its maximum potential, a World Economic Forum (WEF) report stated.

The report titled ‘Education 4.0 Report’, on how digital and other technologies can address learning gaps and make education accessible to all, has been launched as part of WEF's Education 4.0 India initiative. "India has more than 60 million secondary and higher secondary students, but 85 per cent of schools are yet to implement vocational courses as part of their curriculum,” it said. School-to-work (S2W) transition refers to the process of making students job-ready in a rapidly evolving employment landscape. The report said, “The S2W transition process is still facing major hurdles such as lack of trainers, inadequate resources and infrastructure, poor integration with the mainstream school curriculum, and poor linkages between localized skill gaps and vocational courses."

"A lack of coordinated efforts has resulted in an isolated skilling ecosystem that has not been able to achieve its maximum potential," it said. The report noted that many students and parents consider vocational education to be the second-best option to mainstream education. "Employers expect students to have a high degree of competencies, skills and knowledge relevant to their work. They also prefer strong communication skills, teamwork, and problem-solving and critical-thinking abilities,” it stated. According to the report, at present, school pedagogy is designed with no reference to industry needs, since there are no formal channels for industry participation.

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"Further, credits cannot be transferred between formal and informal education streams, so students who want to pursue higher education after vocational courses (or vice-versa) face difficulty in linking their credits. This discourages mobility between the two streams," it said. Enhancing opportunities for career awareness and exposure through internships and apprenticeships' allowing credit transferability to enable students to transfer between formal and informal channels of education and training and providing experiential learning for holistic development through STEM-based courses, language learning and life-skills coaching, are among the recommendations made in the report.

The Education 4.0 India initiative was launched in May 2020 and has convened over 40 partners from the education technology, government, academic and start-up communities. The report is the result of a collaboration between the World Economic Forum, the United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) and YuWaah (Generation Unlimited India). It tracks the progress and findings of the Education 4.0 India initiative, which focuses on how the fourth industrial revolution technologies can enhance learning and reduce inequalities in access to education among children in India. The report also explores challenges and identifies solutions that can be realised as scalable interventions to enable India's youth to participate in the evolving workspace.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has widened the gaps in learning outcomes among school children in India. These gaps have been magnified for children, particularly from disenfranchised and vulnerable families who face innumerable socio-economic issues that also have been worsened by the pandemic," said Jeremy Jurgens, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum. "Through the Education 4.0 India initiative, the Forum, together with UNICEF India and YuWaah, aims to offer insights and recommendations that transcend the education landscape in India and can achieve global impact. This is the first partnership for the Forum and UNICEF at the country level," Jurgens added.

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The report also provides a framework for the development of scalable pilots that can be implemented by state governments and ecosystem partners. This includes best practices that can augment the existing education ecosystem and be useful for a wide range of stakeholders. The report identifies gaps in foundational literacy and numeracy, teacher professional development, school-to-work transition and connecting the unconnected and suggests solutions with five common building blocks – curriculum, content, capacity, community and digital infrastructure.

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