Vocational training for Kandhamal youths, courtesy IGNOU

After making headlines for communal disharmony for years, Orissa's Kandhamal district is set to smile – Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) will provide vocational education and placement to youths from poor families of this tribal district, beginning January. The vocational courses for these BPL youths include certificate courses in advanced computing, job training and interview etiquette, and a diploma in advanced computing.

After Kandhamal, the plan will be implemented in some tribal districts of Orissa and five other states – Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. It will be conducted through a Common Service Centre (CSC) in each village panchayat of these states. The university said efficient local staff shall be hired to run these courses. Pandav Naik, a former vice-chancellor of Utkal University and the Officer on Special Duty (OSD) for this project, said though the cpourses are starting from a rented building in Phulbani, the district headquarters in Kandhamal, a permanent building will be constructed soon. A Kolkata-based NGO SAHAJ, which is helping the Orissa government in e-governance, will help the project by setting up common service centres at panchayat level.

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