Manzil Programme and Skill Training: A Ray of Hope for Girls in Rajasthan

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Manzil Programme and Skill Training: A Ray of Hope for Girls in Rajasthan

Vocational Training Is the Way Forward


Vocational training is skill-based training that equips one to work in a particular field. This can be in sectors such as banking, health care, finance, computers, trade, tourism, and others. The purpose of vocational training is to impart practical knowledge to the students, over and above theoretical knowledge. Our Manzil programme is just a step in this direction.


Skilled and efficient employees are the need of the hour. Every industry and every company is seeking well-trained employees. Vocational training helps youth who are just entering the workforce to gain skills. These make them more employable and perform better.


Skill-based training gives an opportunity to even those who are not academically very good. But that does not mean that vocational training is only for those who are not able to cope academically. Practical industry-based training gives one the knowledge required for a specific job. With the right vocational skills, any learner is better equipped for employment in the long run, whether they scored marks in school or not.


Moreover, academic and vocational learning are complementary to one another. For example, it is important for an engineering student to learn hands-on skills along with theoretical knowledge.


The bigger picture


Government of India’s National Education Policy seeks to introduce students to vocational learning from Grade 6 onwards. Smile Foundation’s initiatives STeP and Tayyari Kal Ki are both aligned with this goal. In the earlier model, only students from urban areas got exposure to skill training, if at all. The idea behind introducing vocational skills at school and college level was to enable gainful employment for students who drop out of school or college.


Vocational education serves as a tool for those who want to learn a skill or trade quickly but cannot afford to invest time and money in a university degree. It offers more job opportunities and costs much lesser than a conventional degree.


Skill-based training needs to become an important component of our education system—from schools, to universities. This will contribute to a holistic education of youth and create better workers and leaders for the future. Moreover, this will go a long way in addressing youth unemployment.


The Manzil programme


Vocational training is an important way in which one can improve their future. This is especially true for girls. Many parents of girls from smaller towns are skeptical about professional training and going to work in big professions and companies. However, they do have dreams for their future, of being independent and free. As a skill development NGO, Smile Foundation, through the Manzil project, is helping thousands of such girls from Rajasthan gain vocational and on-the-job training (OJT). The project also seeks to retain girls in school and reduce drop-out rates.


Vocationalisation of secondary school education is an attempt to help students to visualize the extent to which they can make informed choices in life and career, channelize aspirations, and become market ready and employable. Project Manzil envisions to empower adolescent girls to realize their career goals and educational aspirations.


The project aims to improve the quality of vocational education with a 3-pronged approach focusing on schools, students and industry. These approaches are designed to impact the overall effectiveness of vocational education with an aim to help the primary target group, that is, adolescent girls, to take informed decisions for their career.


There are some key aspects of the project.


Ensuring increased retention of girls in schools

Identifying and addressing gaps in vocational education

Mapping aptitude, skills, aspirations, local opportunities

Facilitating career progression for effective transition from school to further studies and/or work

Empowering adolescent girls socioeconomically

Project Manzil is an innovation in many ways.

Manzil Programme
Manzil Programme


It is important for civil society organizations to keep innovating and pushing themselves to make maximum impact at the ground and community levels.

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