HYDERABAD:With the rapid expansion of industries across the country, the demand for skilled workers and technicians is growing high in all the sectors. Though the industry’s requirement of skilled labour has been growing steadily, the intake at vocational institutes has, however, remained the same for several years. In this scenario, the integrated approach by universities in the country to teach mainstream courses and vocational training is gaining popularity.
After the success of this approach at higher education institutes in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, the Telangana government is planning to provide vocational training to students both at the Intermediate and under-graduate levels. As per the proposal, students will be trained in any of the selected vocational skills along with their regular courses.
Though the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and the Advanced Training Institutes (ATIs) are already providing exclusive vocational courses at the Intermediate level, the government felt that students from technical education are lacking skills despite their well-designed curriculum. This is affecting their chances of getting jobs in industry.
To fill the gap between academics and skills, the Telangana State Council of Higher Education (TSCHE) has proposed to introduce additional vocational training in higher education institutes from the next academic year.
A senior official at TSCHE said, “Our aim is to train students in vocational skills so that they can get employment right after their course. Every student must be able to find a job with these additional skills.” However, the state government is yet to approve this proposal.
Earlier the University Grants Commission (UGC) had encouraged autonomous colleges across the country to set up community colleges on their campuses to provide vocational courses to students from financially poor background. It offered to provide Rs 1 crore for establishment of such colleges and invited proposals. But none of the autonomous colleges from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana managed to impress the UGC with their proposals and lost the opportunity of getting funds.
‘Pvt Varsity boom, a good sign’
Prof. N Shiva Prasad, director of the School of Technology of Gitam University, Hyderabad, says the growth of private universities in the state is a good sign for the private education sector. In an interview with Express, he says the competition among universities will force them to raise the standards of education they provide. Referring to Andhra Pradesh government’s decision to allow more private universities in the state, he says that only those universities which provide quality education will survive in the competition. Here are excerpts from the interview:
Technical education in India is said to be lacking practical approach to teaching. As a senior academician, what do you suggest to overcome this problem?
It is true to some extent. Faculty members play a major role in injecting practical approach to teaching. We need more teachers who have vast work experience in industry. The faculty must be engaged in research and should also have close links with industry. Only then will teaching have more practical approach.
Skills and academics are seen as completely different aspects of our system. How do you think institutes can merge them to provide better education?
Institutes must be given autonomy to make changes in their syllabus regularly. If a single university makes changes in syllabus for hundreds of colleges, it becomes a difficult process. Simultaneously UGC and AICTE should keep a close watch on universities and their academic decisions.