The New Educational Policy (NEP) 2020 seeks to overhaul India’s education system, making it more 21st century relevant. It recognizes that the dynamic landscape of employment and work makes it imperative that education becomes more experiential and multidisciplinary and thus it lays great emphasis on internships. It talks about 10-day “bagless period” during grades VI-XII where students can ‘intern with local vocational experts such as carpenters, gardeners, potters, artists and so on’. The emphasis continues at the level of Higher education too where students at university level ‘will be provided with opportunities for internships with local industry, businesses, artists, crafts persons, so that students may actively engage with the practical side of their learning and, as a by-product, further improve their employability.’
Internships can be considered to be the best form of experiential education that coalesces knowledge and theory learned in the classroom, with practical application and skill development in a professional, work setting. It also provides students the opportunity to engage in learning outside the classroom and within a real-life context. It imparts soft skills which are vital to functioning in any modern day work-place. However, in today’s day and world, there is a problem of abundance. Ancillary businesses surrounding education are on the rise and more often than not, the quality of these internships remain suspect.
It is important that schools and parents conduct due diligence before engaging in any kind of internship engagements for their students/wards. So, what are some of the key things to keep in mind while considering internship tie-ups with external agencies?
- Duration- typically summer vacations can serve as the best time to engage in internships
- Hours – may be part- or full-time
- Arrangement –dedicated staff, resources, and projects to guide the experience and providing a clear job/project description for the work experience
- Assessment – Offers regular feedback to the student intern.
While running relevant internship opportunities for senior secondary students might soon become an established practice in schools, partnering with the right organisations will determine the final outcome.