Smart Education via Smart Classes: Reaching Out to Bordering Districts

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To equip youths of the border areas with jobs, the government is trying to set up coaching centres for competitive exams and run capacity building programmes to enable them to contest in national-level competitive exams, says Dr Sandeep N Mahatme, District Magistrate and Collector, Khowai, Tripura, in an interview with Souvik Goswami of Elets News Network (ENN).

What government initiatives have been undertaken to improve employment status of youths in Tripura?
The State of Tripura, having one of the highest literacy rates in the country, has a significant number of educated unemployed youths. Lack of coaching/training institutes offering facilities to prepare for various Central and State government Departments’ recruitment exams result into less people making it to the Central/State Government jobs.
Border Area Development Programme (BADP) is a centrally sponsored scheme for ensuring balanced development of border areas through development of infrastructure and promotion of well-being and a sense of security among the border population. At the district-level it is implemented by the district administration through various line departments.
One of the important components of BADP is capacity building and skill development. Under this component, the Digital Classroom Coaching programme for Railways and Banking exams for SC/ST and other students is being implemented.

Facilities at the Coaching Centres:

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  • A coaching institute, namely, Janakalyan Parishad, Dharmanagar, that tied up with Institute of Career Advancement, Agartala, is engaged through open bid following Quality and Cost Based Selection (QCBS) method.
  • 100 students are selected through screening tests by the coaching institute of which 50 students are enrolled to undergo coaching for banking exams and the remaining 50 for Railways exams.
  • The coaching institute will train 100 students, selected through a test, to make them capable of facing recruitments exams of Railways (Group C and D) and Banks (IBPS Probationary Officers, IBPS Clerk Recruitment etc.)
  • The coaching institute has set up digital classrooms at Dharmanagar and at Kanchanpur.
  • The coaching Institute has supplied books and study materials to students. In addition, it will also supply tablets with access to videos and other information based upon syllabus.
  • The duration of coaching is for a four-month session. The coaching institute is required to conduct at least eight classes a month. The coaching will also conduct at least two tests per month. Attendance of the students is recorded in biometric system.
  • Trainee students will be provided with travelling allowance of `50 on attendance.

What opportunities do Tripura youths have in the government sector?
As per the Indian Institute of Bank Management (IIBM), Guwahati, there is heavy demand for trained professionals to man the branches and to replace those who are retiring in near future. The problem is more acute in the North Eastern region where officers and banks’s staffs is reluctant to be posted. So, there is perennial shortage of skilled manpower in North east.

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Institute of the Banking Personal Selection (IBPS) quoted that there is acute need of banking professionals. Around 7.5 lakh people were to be recruited in next five years. Every year the trend is almost same.
BFSI (Banking Financial Services and Insurance) sector skill council of India (Under NSDC)- has projected manpower recruitment of the sector by 2022 to be 8.5 million, an increase of 4 to 4.5 million from the present statistics.
As estimated by the NSDC, Tripura requires 3.25 lakh employee workforce by 2022. So, banking sector job opportunity must be grabbed by the youths of North East/Tripura.
North Eastern Frontier Railway Division has its Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) in Guwahati. Opportunities in Rail recruitment lies with Rail Wheel factory Recruitment, Rail coach factory recruitment, IRCTC amongst many others. Recent RRB recruitment shows vacancies of 2,24,656 during 2016-17.

One of the important components of BADP is capacity building and skill development. Under this component, the Digital Classroom Coaching programme for Railways and Banking exams for SC/ ST and other students is being implemented.

Which kind of beneficiaries/people/ departments are affected positively? How?
The programme is targetted for educated unemployed youths of border villages of North Tripura district which lacks competitive edge due to absence of opportunities to prepare for recruitment exams conducted by banks and Railways. Particularly, the focus is on SC and ST students.
This type of coaching would augment, to a great extent, the skills of individuals from remote border villages who are looking for better opportunities but does not have the means to avail quality coaching to prepare themselves for the competitive exams.

What role do nominated departments play in employment and skilling of the youths?
The office of the District Magistrate and Collector North Tripura, invited Expression of Interest (EOI) which was published widely including the official websites of the State Government and District Administration. A good response was received during the second call for EOI. A technical committee evaluated the bid documents and called the shortlisted eligible applicants for a presentation before the committee. The final selection was made based on QCBS method. The District Administration is also monitoring the day to day progress of the programme as well as every other aspects of implementation.

What is anticipated out of the initiative?
The implementation of the programme is still ongoing. By May 2017, around 50 students were trained for Railways and around 50 students were trained for banking recruitment exams.

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