With a mandate to provide quality education for youth, Higher Education Department in the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) is encouraging employment opportunities through various programmes and schemes to develop skills among students. In an exclusive chat with Seema Gupta of Elets News Network (ENN), Raju Srinivasan, Director, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development shares the efforts that the department is making to skill people and make them job ready
What are the new initiatives being undertaken by MHRD to improve the skill in technical education in the country?
In 2009, the Government had introduced National Policy on Skill Development, but later realised that training alone was insufficient for making people employable. We realised that there was a need to educate our youngsters by providing a continuous skilling curriculum along with mainstream education. With this aim, we introduced skills as part of our education system and the Government has created National Skill Development Council (NSDC) and National Skill Development Agency (NSDA). MHRD had launched a scheme on Skill Assessment Matrix for Vocational Advancement of Youth (SAMVAY) on 11th November 2014 for Credit Framework to support students mobility under National Skills Quality Framework (NSQF). SAMVAY was created to support mobility of students between various levels of general education, community colleges and Bachelor of Vocational Courses (B.Voc) courses run by polytechnics and colleges approved by UGC and AICTE.
We need to educate our youngsters and focus on skilling manpower to encourage better employment and foster entrepreneurship in the country. The demographic dividend provides ample opportunities of employability in foreign lands as there is an adequate demand of skilled persons in all sectors. To make people work abroad and understand their culture and society, learners may prefer to choose any foreign language as an option to meet the global demand.
How can technical education be used to increase the employability level of the youth?
Most of the industries are facing shortage of skilled manpower. Our focus is to impart skills along with technical and general education to fill the gap of skill shortages across various sectors in the industry and to encourage life long learning. Institutions are working to understand the changing industry and market dynamics and have initiated the changes required to increase the employability level of the youth. Moreover, industry and educational institutes are working jointly for creating the curriculum required to meet the market needs.
Are all the IITs and NITs also collaborating with the industries for the right curriculum changes ?
IITs and NITs already have collaboration with various industries and have been able to increase the competency level of students. In case of other institutions, our regulators have directed them to adopt NOS and QP developed by SSC in their curriculum, while implementing community college scheme and B.Voc programme to increase the level of competency to fit into the specific job as per the market demand. With these Institutions adopting the SSC curriculum, there will be no issue of employability in near future.
Please throw light on the community college concept.
The community college is a scheme which is gaining prominence. It is a concept of skill development and traditional courses which are accessible to a large number of individuals of the community. These courses offer low cost yet high quality education locally run by polytechnics and colleges. It has synergetic relationship between the community, learners and a job market. Two years back, Ministry of HRD launched a pilot project for community college scheme, where 200 community colleges were identified. Out of these, AICTE has started 72 community colleges and UGC has started around 107 community colleges. These colleges give an opportunity to the community to move directly to employment or scale up to higher education. The Communty college scheme is expected to meet the local demand of industries and also retain the traditional skill with people.
AICTE has started 72 community colleges and UGC has started around 107 community colleges. These colleges give an opportunity to the community to move directly to employment
How is ICT helping the technical education to improve the quality of education?
More than 800 courses in various disciplines in engineering and science are available online under NPTEL. E-content for eight undergraduate subjects has been generated, over 100 Virtual Labs in nine disciplines, about 770 experiments and 1,500 spoken tutorials are currently ready for use. The use of ICT would thus ensure standardised delivery of education to all students in various universities and institutions.
What is the reach of ICT in various colleges today?
NMEICT cloud to host online courses with social networking to resolve doubts, peer level consultations, online examinations, certifications, credit transfer effective use of MOOCs have been made possible by ICT. NPTEL platforms are helping us to overcome shortage of faculties. Through ICT, we are able to generate the standardised content and it is also possible to deliver education in preferred languages.
What is the roadmap you have developed to reach to remote areas?
Ministry of HRD has notified NVEQF on 3rd September 2012, which is a nationally integrated education and competency-based skill framework, that has been superceded by the NSQF on its notification on 27th December 2013. Subsequently, MHRD has launched revised scheme of vocationalisation of secondary and higher secondary education in school education side and community colleges, B.Voc, Kaushal Kendras, SAMVAY – skill Credit schemes in Higher Education. All these schemes ensure vertical and horizontal mobility as well as provide windows of opportunities to the learner for progression across sectors from level 1 to level 10 under NSQF. The scheme covers 3,645 government schools in 30 States and Union Terrotories, 179 community colleges offering courses in 76 different trades, 127 B.Voc institutions and 100 Kaushal Kendras. Over the period, it would be possible to reach all the schools, colleges and universities across the country based on the response and market demand.
What are the challenges you see in increasing number of institutions in the country?
With the mushrooming of new institutions everywhere, it is important that the quality of education provided by them also improves. Ensuring quality of teaching, training teachers and imparting skills in higher education are the major challenges for institutions. It is viewed as an opportunity of demographic dividend for these institutions where the combination of skills in technical and higher education with an appropriate sectoral domain to match the demand of industry may boost the economy of our nation. NBA accreditation became mandatory for all the programmes of AICTE-approved technical institutions, that are willing to increase the intake of programme or introduce new programme. This would certainly make an impact on improving the quality of technical education.