Monday, June 27, 2011

IGNOU Community College set to empower youth

The community college at Manesar is set to empower the youth by providing them with access to skill-oriented education. The community college at Manesar is established by an autonomous society jointly created by the Technical Education Department of the Haryana government and Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, Vice-Chancellor, IGNOU, says, "The aim of starting this college is to provide skill development among the youth and skill upgradation of workers, particularly in the unorganised sector in the state of Haryana."

The Haryana government and IGNOU saw Manesar as the ideal place to start such an initiative for several reasons. It is a fast growing industrial township. More than 125,000 people go to work in Manesar from adjoining places. It is in the Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor project and many of the government-sponsored mega industrial development projects are in Manesar.

Besides, it has many factories, offices, hotels and educational institutes. Manesar houses the headquarters of many institutes of national importance like the National Security Guards and its large training establishment, and the National Brain Research Centre (NBRC). The township has a conglomeration of small and medium-size industries, big corporate centres and dozens of manufacturing and production units - Indian and multinational.

Community colleges require strong partnerships with such industrial and training units. Apprenticeship, work-integrated learning and on-thejob-training are integral parts of the IGNOU Community College system. The proximity of the top class facility of the Manesar Polytechnic and its teaching and training faculty add value to the entire proposal for the Haryana-IGNOU Community College at Manesar.

In India less than 5% of the total workforce has some sort of a skill certification. This is in contrast to over 90% in developed countries. Around 500 million youth will need new skill opportunities by 2022. As of now, not even 30% of our educated youth are employable because they don't possess the skill-set required for the industry or the social sector.

The courses that will be provided will include IT, automobile production, textiles, security operations, soft skills, tourism and hospitality management, culinary arts, food preservation and technology, pharmaceuticals sales and management and in the area of paramedical sciences.

"A few industries have already come forward, and we are in dialogue with some of the major hospitals for paramedical areas. The course will be in the modular format, starting with certificate, diploma, advanced diploma and associate degree, respectively for courses ranging from six months to 24 months. The curriculum and content of the core courses will be supplemented with training and content from the partner industry according to the requirements," says Pillai.

There will be a full-time principal for the Community College and one full-time teacher for each of the courses. All the other teachers and trainers for each of the course will be part-time, contract staff adjunct teachers and trainers. IGNOU is also providing training for teachers in community colleges. Talking about the infrastructure, Pillai says, "We have a building with classroom facilities. Lab and training facilities are being built jointly with participating industries. As of now there is no hostel accommodation. The classes will be in shifts starting from 8 am till 8 pm."

Courses will be available for students who have completed their class XII. For working professionals and school drop-outs a preparatory bridge course of six months has been designed to make them eligible for entry into the degree programme, for the community college programme. Admissions are on till July 31. Classes will begin in the first week of August.

Source: The Times of India (Education Times), June 27, 2011

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