In a step to further strengthen its commitment towards facilitating mobility between vocational and general education and developing a consistent and standardised framework for recognition of vocational degrees, the UGC recently released a notification allowing recognition of the B. Voc degree for competitive exams such as UPSC and Staff Selection Commission as well as for admission into trans-disciplinary programmes. The move intends to bring the B. Voc degree at par with other Bachelor level degrees.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has launched a scheme on skill development based higher education as part of college/university education, leading to Bachelor of Vocation (B.Voc.) Degree with multiple exit options such as Diploma/Advanced Diploma under the NSQF. To this end, the B.Voc degree was specified by UGC under section 22(3) of UGC Act, 1956 and notified in official Gazette of India dated 19th January, 2013.
The notification mentions that B. Voc should be recognised “for competitive exams conducted by Union/State Public Service Commission, Staff Selection Commission or other such bodies where the eligibility criteria is “Bachelor Degree in any discipline.” It further states that “students with B.Voc. degree should be considered eligible for the transdisciplinary vertical mobility into such courses where entry qualification is a Bachelor Degree without specific requirement in a particular discipline.”
This is a welcome move by the UGC that will further open up various avenues and pathways to increase employability of candidates outside of conventional education, which, in turn, will contribute toward productivity at a national level to boost India’s competitive edge at a time when there is still a shortage of skilled manpower to address the increasing needs and demands of the economy.
In a major boost to Vocational Education, UGC following the introduction of Bachelor’s Degree in Vocational Education [B.Voc], has now specified Master’s Degree in Vocational Education.
Earlier, in the year 2012, under the National Vocational Education Qualification Framework / National Skill Qualification Framework, UGC had specified Bachelor’s Degree in Vocational Education paving way to pursue degree course in different trades. UGC also from time to invites proposal for conducting various courses under B.Voc. Programmes in different skill based trades.
UGC recently in exercise of its powers under section 22  of the UGC Act, 1956 has specified a new Degree, Master in Vocational Education [M.Voc.]. The Gazette Notification dated 23rd July 2015, which amends the earlier Gazette published on 5th July 2014 regarding specification of degree introduces a 2 year Master’s Course in Vocational Education. UGC has also specified that entry eligibility for this Master’s Course shall be Bachelor’s Degree in Vocational Education.
Indian Government has taken several intitiatives in recent times to boost the skill sector by introducing National Skill Development Mission, National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) scheme and the Skill Loan scheme.
The introduction of Master’s Degree in Vocational Education will strengthen the vocational education sector and will allow the students having achieved bachelor’s degree in vocational sector to have further specialization in their chosen trade. This is a kind of a specialization hierarchy, which is very common in our education system, like MD after MBBS, MBA after BBA. This step also recognizes the need and importance of Vocational Education in transforming an economy.
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A bachelor’s degree in vocational education is likely to be introduced in the University Grants Commission in 2012. The standing committee of UGC has formally approved a proposal to introduce a bachelors degree in vocational education. Once approved by the Commission, a college student can pick up a bachelors degree in art, science , commerce or vocational education.
The All India Council of Technical Education had earlier requested UGC to introduce vocational education at college level. The curriculum of the new courses will be put on the website by March 10. The student will have to choose a sector and a specific specialization from each sector. Initially 10 sectors have been chosen including tourism, construction, printing, telecom, IT, mobile and communication.
To begin with, one college can have five sectors. Each sector can have a maximum of 100 students which means initially a college can have 500 students for vocational education. There are plans to allow students to shift from BVoc to arts, science or commerce, thus not punishing students for signing up for the new course.
These courses will provide vocational skills and general education, thus providing vocational graduates with multiple pathways. The USP (unique selling point) of the course is that students can leave the course any time and come back to it to pursue further studies.
Union HRD minister Kapil Sibal had recently launched the National Vocational Education Qualification Framework for implementation in polytechnics, engineering colleges and other colleges in the university systems from 2012-13.