Accelerating Transitions and Enhancing Employability: The Role of Career Education in Schools
Career Education
Dr. Chetna Sabharwal

The national education policy (NEP) 2020, a landmark reform in the Indian education system, aims to revolutionize how students learn and develop skills. One crucial aspect of this policy is the implementation of career education, which seeks to bridge the gap between school and college and enhance the employability index of the country. Let’s explore the role of career education in alignment with NEP 2020, delve into its benefits, and a roadmap to successful execution that highlight the need for a robust career curriculum.

The Need for Career Education

The Indian education system has traditionally focused on academic excellence, often neglecting the development of practical skills and career guidance. As a result, many students are ill-prepared to make informed career choices, leading to high dropout rates and a significant gap between education and employment. According to a recent report by the World Economic Forum, 31 per cent of the participating organizations emphasize the need to introduce early skilling in school systems.

Cognitive skills are reportedly in high demand, reflecting the increasing importance of complex problem-solving in the workplace. Surveyed businesses report creative thinking to be growing in importance slightly more rapidly than analytical thinking. Technology literacy is the third-fastest growing core skill. Self-efficacy skills rank above working with others, in the rate of increase in the importance of skills reported by businesses. The socio-emotional attitudes at the workplace are growing in importance that encapsulates curiosity and lifelong learning; resilience, flexibility, and agility; and motivation and self-awareness. Systems thinking, AI and big data, talent management, and service orientation and customer service complete the top 10 growing skills.

This underscores the urgency of incorporating career education into the curriculum to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge right from the primary years.

Bridging Skills Gap, Transforming Lives

Implementing career education as per NEP 2020 is vital in bridging the gap between school and college. It allows students to explore various career options, understand their interests and aptitudes, and make informed decisions about their future paths. By introducing vocational training and experiential learning opportunities, students gain hands-on experience and develop practical skills that will result in better employability.

One successful example of bridging this gap is the ‘National Career Service’ (NCS) initiative by the Ministry of Labour and Employment, which provides a one-stop platform for career guidance, skill development, and job placement. Through the NCS portal, students can access information on various careers, and vocational courses, and even interact with industry professionals. Such initiatives empower students to make informed choices and transition seamlessly from school to college, with a clear understanding of their career goals. We at SkillsReform, are trying to introduce the need for career education in schools through our ‘Future Skilling Initiative’ program where each year 25 schools are selected to implement the curriculum and record the impact through a survey-based analysis.

Enhancing Employability

Career education plays a crucial role in enhancing the employability index of the country. By equipping students with relevant skills, knowledge, and practical experience, they become better prepared to meet the demands of the rapidly changing job market. For instance, the Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) initiative, introduced by the Atal Innovation Mission, focuses on fostering innovation and entrepreneurship skills among students. By engaging in hands-on projects, students learn critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork, which are highly valued by employers. While this essentially gives a chance to those interested, schools should introduce a competency-based curriculum integrated with academic subjects.

Additionally, integrating industry collaborations and internships into the curriculum provides students with real-world exposure and the opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge. The NEP 2020 emphasizes such collaborations, enabling students to gain industry insights, learn from professionals, and build a network even before entering the workforce.

Positive Snowball Effect

The inclusion of career education as per NEP 2020 in the Indian education system is a crucial step towards accelerating transitions from school to college and enhancing the employability index of the country. To ensure that the young population of India traverses in the right direction through regular, effective, and well-designed interventions and that schools become a place of innovation and entrepreneurship, one must address the need to train teachers on skills, subjects, and how each subject require specific skills that lead to better adjustments in the world of work. By equipping students with practical skills, career guidance, and industry exposure, we become better prepared to navigate the job market and contribute effectively to the nation’s growth. The positive snowball effect of introducing a robust career curriculum from early years and identifying the urgency to bridge the gap between education and employment will ultimately pave the way for a prosperous and skilled workforce in India.

About the Author

Dr. Chetna has been working for 25+ years at the carrefour of education, psychology, mathematics, and career guidance. The final call comes into all-encompassing ‘social entrepreneurship.’ Her expertise in strategic alliances includes building collaborative partnerships with Edtech startups, universities, and schools to engage students, leaders, and faculty in training and global branding.

As an established author for mathematics and psychology, she has trained 5000+ teachers on curriculum development, basic counseling skills, and becoming an edupreneur. Working closely with NITI Aayog, MHRD, NCERT, NIOS, and NCS on various Edtech projects and assignments, her versatility keeps her busy as an international speaker on various forums.

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