ENABLING AN ECOSYSTEM FOR VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING FOR AFRICAN STUDENTS IN INDIA
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Diplomatist|October 2020
The context The rapid technological developments we are witnessing in the twenty-first century, together with the forces of globalization, are likely to lead to radical changes in the world of work. To this end, vocational education and training across the globe, more so in the global south, is critical to harness the demographic dividend for the social, economic and scientific development of the country and the region.
DR CHETAN SINGAI*

The UNESCO report (1997) on International Standard Classification of Education defines vocational education as “education which is mainly designed to lead participants to acquire the practical skills, know-how and understanding necessary for employment in a particular occupation or trade or class of occupations or trades. Successful completion of such programmes leading to a labour-market relevant vocational qualification recognized by the competent authorities in the country in which it is obtained (e.g. Ministry of Education, employers’ associations, etc.).”

The Indian higher education ecosystem with more than 950 universities and 44000 colleges, provide a wide range of choice and opportunities to international students. Further, the skill development initiative in most of the higher education institutions has been a vantage point for students enrolled in these institutions to gain practical skills, know-how and life skills for employment. Currently, India is one of the top destinations for African students to pursue higher education. As per the report by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU), 2018 of all the regions in Africa, the largest proportion (49.25%) of students came from Eastern Africa followed by Western Africa (26.48%) and Northern Africa (11.62%), the Middle and Southern Africa accounts for 9.52% and 3.13% of the total African students studying in India. In this backdrop, enhancing such opportunities to students from Africa could add value to the current bilateral economic and technological cooperation between India and Africa.

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