Community colleges, modelled on the ones in the United States, will soon be started in the State to impart vocational training to youths.
They assume significance as Odisha aims at providing skill development training to one million youths in the next five years to drive its economic growth.
Earlier this year, the HRD Ministry along with the University Grants Commission (UGC) had decided to start as many as 100 community colleges in the country within the next one year to address skill shortage.
Of these 100, the Department of Higher Education (DHE) in collaboration with the Department of Employment, Technical Education and Training has decided to open seven community colleges in the State under public private partnership (PPP) mode on a pilot basis. The Centre will fund these institutions.
While four of the seven colleges will come up on the premises of government autonomous colleges, three on private institutions’ campuses. The four government colleges are Rama Devi Women’s College here, Government Autonomous College, Rourkela, FM Autonomous College, Balasore, and Khallikote Autonomous College, Berhampur.
“The community college is an innovative educational alternative providing holistic education and eligibility for employment to the disadvantaged. These colleges are one of the reasons, often unheralded, that the US has been so successful,” said Higher Education Secretary Gagan Dhal. He added that these colleges empower the underprivileged with job-oriented and skill-based education programmes in the form of an associate degree, diploma or certificate. After completion of associate degree, a student can take admission to an undergraduate college. In the US, community colleges provide an important additional layer of education where students can learn practical skills and get the theoretical knowledge to continue on to university if they like.
“The proposal for community colleges was approved by the technical sub-committee of the department recently and work will be started soon,” Dhal further said.
Meanwhile, the DHE is also contemplating inclusion of new trades in the 231 Government Vocational Junior Colleges (GVJCs) in the State that function under the Centrally-sponsored vocational education programme.
These trades are automobile, IT, retail sector and securities. These vocational colleges impart education at the Plus II level designed to create middle-level skilled personnel who can become self employed by starting their own enterprises. Till now, the GVJCs in Odisha have just 20 trades.