Monday, July 11, 2011

ITIs to reserve 50% faculty posts for engineers

The Ministry of Labour has ordered Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) to ensure that engineering diploma or degree holders form at least half their faculty. The order will help provide teaching jobs to at least 20,000 people every year, besides improving teaching standards at ITIs, said the ministry, which oversees the institutes. Until now, these institutes have typically hired their own graduates as teachers.

“An engineering degree holder will have a better grasp of the current requirement and changing technology. He can teach our ITI students better,” said R.L. Singh, Director (Training) at the Directorate of Employment and Training, a body under the labour ministry. “ITIs need to reinvent themselves to cater to the current demand of the industry. Unless you appoint quality teachers, the quality of students passing out may not be satisfactory.”

The country has 9,025 ITIs catering to over 1.2 million students. There are some 76,000 teachers employed in these institutes.

ITIs were set up in mid-1950s by then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru to provide skilled workers to industry and improve the quality of labour entering the Indian industrial sector. The government has taken several steps to improve the ITIs, including allowing industries to adopt them, imparting spoken English and information technology (IT) literacy skills and giving them soft loans to improve infrastructure. It also recently decided to make their course modular to allow students to earn while learning through a multi-entry multi-exit system. Singh said the government expects the number of ITIs to grow at least 10% per annum.

The order, Singh said, will not impact current teachers who do not have engineering diplomas or degrees. “The vacancy in ITIs across India is huge—it ranges from 30% to 70% across states. By broadening the teacher recruitment scope, we believe that more people will apply and fill up the vacancies,” Singh said.

Suvendu Kumar, an engineering graduate looking for a job in the national capital region, said the step will benefit job seekers like him. “I have graduated from a private engineering college and am yet to find a job. If I get a job with Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 25,000 (per month) as salary in a ITI then I will not hesitate to join.” ITIs generally pay Rs.18,000-25,000 as monthly pay to teachers.

Another labour ministry official said while India needs to fill 20,000 ITI teaching posts every year, it does not have the capacity to train such a number before sending them to classrooms. “We have a capacity to train only 1,600 teachers,” said this official, who did not want to be named. “As a corrective step, we are giving around Rs. 50 million to 10 ITIs to set up instructor training centres. Besides, we have invited private application.” ITI teachers were earlier asked to take a year’s break to get trained. But “taking a year-long leave hampers teaching”, the official said. “Now we have divided it into four modules. So the break at any point will not be more than three months.”

Tahsin Zahid, CEO of GRAS Education and Training Services, a private chain of institutes that imparts skill training, said ITI’s are not particularly good in terms of teaching or faculty. “Unless you improve the basic intellectual infrastructure (like faculty and curricula) in sync with industry demand, you will become ineffective,” he said.

Source: Mint, July 11, 2011
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