National Vocational Education Qualification Framework (NVEQF)

India is a nation of young people – out of a population of above 1.1 billion, 672 million people are in the age-group 15 to 59 years, – which is usually treated as the “working age population”. Over the next 30 years, it has been predicted that India will see a sharp decline in the dependency ratio over, which will constitute a major ‘demographic dividend’ for India. In 2001, 11% of population of the country was in age group of 18-24 years which is expected to rise to 12% by the end of XI Five Year Plan. To reap the demographic dividend, the young population should be considered as an invaluable asset which if equipped with knowledge and skills, can contribute effectively to the development of the country’s economy.

Vocational Education in India

The Report of the Kothari Commission of Education (1966), which was titled ‘Education and National Development‘ had set a number of goals to be pursued. One of them was “to vocationalise secondary education.” This led to establishment of the ITIs in India.

In 2007 it was announced by PM that Hon’ble Prime Minister of India addressing the nation on Independence Day (2006), spoke of the need for a Vocational Education Mission and in 1600 new industrial training institutes (ITIs) and polytechnics, 10,000 new vocational schools and 50,000 new Skill Development Centres would be opened to ensure that annually, over 100 lakh students get vocational training, which would be a four-fold increase.

In India, the technical education revolves around the technical and vocational education and training system (TVET). TVET develops human resource through a three-tier system:

  • Graduate and post-graduate level through IIT, NIT and Engineering Colleges
  • Diploma-level graduates through Polytechnics as technicians and supervisors.
  • Certificate-level for higher secondary students in the vocational stream and craft people trained in ITIs as well as through formal apprenticeships.

However, it is a fact that Indian workforce is largely in informal employment in unorganized sector – with low levels of literacy and numeracy- no mechanism available for them to enter formal education system. There was a long standing desire to focus on the educational component to build a sound TVET system and build a general education element into VE, and vice versa, to ensure a holistic approach to human resource development.


The National Vocational Education Qualification Framework (NVEQF), which has been recently launched by AICTE and Ministry of HRD mainly focuses on general education element into VE, and vice versa. It bring the vocational education program in schools that will offer new career choices to students and make them better prepared for the world of work.

The Scheme envisages Seven certificate levels with each certificate level with approximately 1000 hours each certificate, with each 1000 hours being made of certain number of hours for vocational competency based skill modules and the rest for general learning simultaneously integrated and providing a Diploma for vocational education after the certificate level five or leading to a Degree for vocational education after level seven in the university system, subject to their statutory approval, is highlight of the scheme.

The framework will be implemented in polytechnics, Engineering Colleges and other colleges in the University systems from 2012-13. The programmes are sector specific and the sectors like IT, Media, Entertainment, Telecommunications, Mobile Communications, Automobile, Construction, Retail, Food Processing, Tourism, Hotels, Jewellery Design and Fashion Design and many other have been identified for implementation.

How it will benefit?

  • A student can choose to avail of competency based skill learning along with general education in this scheme without losing the possibility of changing course and moving at any certificate level into a formal system of education and vice versa. This would ultimately provide a full multi-entry exist system between vocational education, general education and the job market.
  • AICTE would seek to provide the requisite statutory approvals to any institutions wishing to conduct these programmes from the Academic Year 2012 throughout the country. The institutions can choose a maximum of 500 students per institute in any five sectors, 100 students per sector.
  • This is expected to cater to at least 5 million students for vocational degree and diploma every year, which can provide self-employment or being meaningfully employed if even 1/3 of the institutions are approved to conduct these programmes.
  • NVEQF is a great initiative by MHRD that needs to be propagated and followed throughout the country that has a potential to increase the GER from 15 to double this value by the end of 2020, simultaneously providing meaningful employment.

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