Tertiary Vocational Education – Bachelors Education With a Difference

Monday, November 26, 2012
Every year thousands of students all over the country complete their schooling, and apply for admissions in colleges and universities for further studies. While the sciences, law, accountancy, banking etc are the popular picks, there is a small but fast growing number who are opting for universities that offer a formal training and education in creative vocational courses like music, dance, dramatics, computers, web designing etc.

The syllabus of these courses is designed with the view to not only provide the theoretical knowledge, but hands-on training and practical know-how in the chosen field; in order to expose the students, and better prepare them for their chosen careers. While the traditional courses follow the semester and examinations system, with practical training and apprenticeship being offered in very few subjects, the creative vocational courses aim at revamping the educational system and pedagogies altogether.

With the growing demand for students who are not just textbook learners or scholars, but are well prepared to meet the dynamic demands of the global workforce in fields like entertainment, IT, travel and tourism, performing arts etc, the need to shift the focus from just the classroom and textbooks has been strongly felt. The teaching methods in vocational courses are very comprehensive and better suited to the creative needs of the students.

·Vocational courses do delve into the history, theory, and a detailing of the concepts, but these are attached too much value. Practicals, projects, training, learning by doing, is the preferred medium of instruction in vocational courses. So while studio work is compulsory in a photography course, most drama classes are organized not in classrooms but in theatres where students are actually exposed to the stage, lighting etc.

·Not only this, but the students are also allowed to choose their specializations, usually from the second or third semester onwards, so the education that they get is not of a general nature, but focuses on the specific skills and training required for their specializations. For instance, a student studying photography can choose to focus on wildlife photography, fashion photography, documentaries etc.

·The teaching staff and faculty in vocational courses are renowned artists and practitioners in their own fields, rather than just being educationists. They work best to understand the needs of the students and the courses and the right methodology to impart the kind of education to their students that will best help them to meet the demands of the job market. Guest lectures by people who have worked successfully in their respective fields are also common, to not only inspire students with their own success stories but to also offer them advice and answer questions and queries that they may have related to their chosen courses.

·Apprenticeship or a training period is a mandatory credit in vocational courses. Working under the guidance of a professional person helps students in ways that no education imparted in any classroom can equal. Dealing with day-to-day occurrences, learning by watching, and taking small but important responsibilities as trainees, helps students prepare themselves for when they would independently start working.

·Examinations are conducted in vocational courses as well, but the written theory exams are not considered indicators of the students progress, but practical performances, projects, actual music recitals, clothes designed by students themselves, short-films made independently and other practical ways of gauging a students progress are given more importance.