State edu board to discontinue 16 bifocal courses
From the academic year 2024-25, popular bifocal courses in Mumbai will be converted into employment-oriented specialized courses in line with the National Skill Qualification Framework. The decision aims to align education with evolving technology and improve educational standards. The Maharashtra government has issued a resolution mandating the introduction of these new vocational courses. Existing teachers will receive training to continue instructing the current courses, while new teachers must meet the prescribed qualifications. The Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education will organize examinations for the new syllabus.
Mumbai: Sixteen popular bifocal courses offered at junior colleges (classes 11 and 12) will be converted into employment-oriented specialised courses — vocation or skill-based — from the academic year 2024-25, in line with the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF).
A bifocal programme allows students from the science stream to skip second language and biology subjects during Class 11 and 12, and instead take a 200-mark elective like electrical maintenance or computer science.
The decision to terminate the existing courses is driven by a recognition of their incompatibility with the NSQF developed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, which aims to align education with evolving technology and elevate educational standards.
For example, one of the most popular courses in bifocal education which is Computer Science is restructured as Junior Software Developer wherein a student would be trained and develop expertise to enter the software industry.
In June, the state government announced the discontinuation of all present bifocal courses offered in both government and private institutions throughout the state. A government resolution (GR) has been issued mandating the introduction of these new courses for Class 11 students from the academic session 2024-25. As per the GR, the Directorate of Vocational Education and Training (DVET) will oversee the submission of proposals for the recognition of colleges willing to initiate the new vocational courses. The admission capacity for each batch is capped at 50 students.
Digambar Dalavi, director, DVET said, “Amid concerns that the current bifocal courses may pose challenges for students in terms of employment, self-employment, and higher education, the government is taking proactive steps to implement the NSQF. Older courses were decided in early 1980. To restructure these courses guidelines for the new syllabus have been formulated, leading to the closure of existing business courses in government, non-government aided, and non-government permanent unaided institutions across the state.”
In a bid to address potential discrepancies in the educational qualifications of teachers, the government has outlined a plan. Existing teachers will receive the necessary training to continue instructing the current courses if their qualifications do not align with the new standards. The DVET will be responsible for facilitating this training. Meanwhile, new teachers must meet the prescribed educational qualifications for the upcoming courses.
The Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education will play a crucial role in organising both theoretical and practical examinations for the new syllabus. The government decision specifies that theoretical exams will be conducted through the State Board, while practical exams will be overseen by the Maharashtra State Skill, Vocational Education, and Training Board. This comprehensive overhaul reflects the government’s commitment to enhancing the quality and relevance of vocational education in the state.
Dalavi said, “New GR specified the new infrastructural as well as educational standards to run these courses. New courses will benefit students for their prospects.”
According to data, around 30,517 students were registered for bifocal courses for the July 2023 HSC board exam. According to GR, the present course named electrical Maintenance will be restructured as Field Technician-Wireman Control Panel and Lineman Distribution, Electronics will be restructured as Field Technician-Computing and Peripherals and Field Technician - Washing Machine.