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The fact that education should be meaningful for life cannot be contested.
However, the term ‘meaningful for life’ can be interpreted in economic, social,
and intellectual terms. The economic meaningfulness of education means that
education should enable an individual to acquire certain skills that help him to get
a decent income through self-employment or through working on some
remunerative job. It might thus mean that education should improve one’s own
economic status, and in the process, the economic status of the country. Hence,
education should equip an individual for some career that has significant
economic advantages either in the short run, medium run or in the long run. This
is what is meant by ‘relevant education’. Vocationalization assumes a special
significance under the career oriented program at the graduate and post
graduate stages, as it is at these stages that the students need to enter into the
world of work and into the income earning activities to support the family.
It should also be emphasized that constant innovations are necessary to make
education at all the levels meaningful and relevant, as there are continuous
changes in the economy and the skills acquired through such specific
programmes of vocationalization are likely to become obsolete within a short
The Parliamentary Standing Committee in its 172nd Report has
recommended that relevance of Higher education should be seen with
reference to marketability of the Graduate and Post-Graduate students it
produces; with reference to its reach to marginalized sections and its
relevance for the socio-economic development of a society.
10.2 Parameters evolved
There is need to examine the relevance of higher education in a conceptual
framework for the long term, medium term and short term goals, in terms of jobs
and career, specific challenges in life consisting of event management or crisis
management, etc. and with regard to societal values, individual values, cultural
aspects and situations of non neutrality of individual values, societal values and
national values.
Relevance shall be considered as a dynamic concept and a multi faceted
concept. In this sense, the issue of relevance of higher education needs to be
considered in a rolling plan framework and under a multidisciplinary perspective.
Care should be taken to ensure that the contents of Higher Education have
continuity with the contents of previous levels of education so that students are not confronted with the jerks in their pursuit of education. Efforts shall be made to
establish mechanisms for considering the issues of inter- stage continuity,
through regular interactions with apex organizations dealing with secondary and
higher secondary stages of education. Care should also be taken to ensure inter
stream continuity so that there is no ad-hocism in taking particular courses and
subjects in the conventional stream, which may lead to wastage and stagnation
in higher education, as job compulsions for students might lead to ad-hocism in
adoption of streams and courses by them. Care also needs to be taken to ensure
that this would not affect flexibility of students to opt any type of combination of
conventional stream with the add on career oriented courses. A mechanism for
testing a student’s aptitudes should be evolved so that the chosen higher
education streams are not irrelevant to students’ own inherent capabilities. Such
an approach would help reducing the extent of wastage and stagnation in higher
education. Special initiatives are required to link higher education and its
contents with the challenges of globalization.


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