The government will set up 10 community colleges in collaboration with Canadian educational institutes to educate illiterate adults and provide skill-based training for employment, human resource development minister Kapil Sibal said on Thursday.
“Under the adult literacy programme of the HRD ministry, as many as 70 million people need to be literate and their capacity enhanced to enable them to acquire the skills required to perform jobs,” the minister said at the fifth Global Skills Summit organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry ( FICCI).
Of the illiterate 70 million, 60 million are women who need education and skill training close to where they live. And for this, the government would launch 100 community colleges this year.
“We are going to set up a working group and have a roadmap in the next three months with Canadian collaboration,” he added.
Referring to India’s rich demographic dividend, the minister said there are 400 million people in the age group of 0-40 which is three-fourth of Europe and much larger than the numbers in the US and Canada put together.
“I shudder to think of the challenges of educating and imparting training in skills to contribute to the growth process. If we don’t get it right, the recipe would be between disaster and great success.”
He called for a roadmap for focused international collaboration on developing skill-sets that would be needed to service the world community.
“If we can collaborate and set up community colleges or skill development centres in the context of National Skill Development Corporation and the Sector Skill Council then what we will be able to do is develop skills and human resources which then can be absorbed in other parts of the world for their economic development and at the same time have enough skills to be absorbed in our economy which is a win-win for both.”
The minister underlined the need for vocational education programmes in schools.