Even as students continue to aspire to become engineers and doctors, an opportunity to work in government offices, public and private sector undertakings has come across as the major driving force for students opting for vocational courses such as Stenography and Computer Applications.
“The two-year course in Stenography and Computer Applications not only helps students in learning shorthand and typing, it also teaches them communication skills. The course provides students an opportunity to work in the private sector as well as with all the wings of the government ,” a trainer for Stenography and Computer Applications at a government school told Chandigarh Newsline. Having learnt the course, a lot of students seek to work in the capacity of personal assistants in various government offices and public sector undertakings.
Kirti Singhal, a student who finished her schooling from Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 19, said, “In my senior secondary, I opted for Stenography because it provided me with the basic training in computers as well as shorthand. After finishing school, I joined a private company.” Singhal, however, said that she now plans to continue with her education and will study B.Com.
Even as these vocational courses groom students to take up jobs in a professional capacity after school, a majority of them, however, choose to continue with their higher education. On the other hand, some students also opt for distance learning programmes, as they continue to work after school, whereas few discontinue with their studies due to financial constraints. “I have a few students who took up vocational courses in Electrical Technology and are now working as electricians. Due to personal and financial constraints, they are unable to go for higher studies. By learning a vocational course, they are at least able to make a living for themselves now,” said Vinod Kumar, teacher at a city government school.
With government schools taking a lead in providing skill-based training, private schools on the other hand, are not catering to any vocational courses. In private schools, students only have the option of being a member of various clubs. “There are a lot of clubs that encourage students to take up their hobbies, and others that help them become responsible citizens. A lot of these clubs instill a sense of social responsibility in students,” said Anju Mehta, a teacher at Sacred Heart Convent School.
A visit to city’s private schools and colleges has revealed how absence of skill-based training has failed to prepare students for future challenges. Even though a lot of students grow up to become successful professionals, they lack basic understanding of finances and everyday chores. “I do not know how to cook. It is because I have to devote all of my time to studies. My mother does all the chores, and she keeps me free from household works so I can study,” claimed Sandeep Kumar, a student of Panjab University (PU).
“I don’t have much idea how to fill government forms or how to fix my car’s tyres. These are things I have never been taught, and I always turn to my parents to help me out,” lamented Amarjot Kaur, a student of Class XII studying at a private school in the city.
A lot of teachers and professors, however, feel that students should learn such skills from their parents. “One cannot count on education completely for these life skills – these are skills that students learn from their parents. Parents should make sure that they do not provide everything to their children on a silver spoon,” said Swati Gupta, teacher at a private school.
However, city resident Paramjeet Sethi, who has two sons studying at different private schools, has a different view. “Parents these days hardly find time from their work. And in several families, both parents are working. Schools should include short term courses in basic vocational skills so that our children grow up to be responsible adults.”