Some institutes are opening up for men to fill vacant seats

Empty chairs, locked classrooms and, surprisingly, even a few boys in uniform are an everyday sight at the Government Women’s Industrial Training Institute (ITI) in the city, which testifies to the diminishing interest from women in joining formal vocational courses.

The “women’s only” institute — one of only two for women in the district — currently running out of a rented building in Urwa Stores, offers two courses: one-year Computer Operator and Programming Assistant (COPA); and, two-year Electronics and Mechanics (E&M) course.

Out of 52 seats, only 10 have been filled in COPA course; while E&M has only managed to fill 21 of the allotted 42 seats.

Of these 31 students studying in the women’s institute, eight are men. “With enrolments so low, we had to request the Department for Employment and Training to allow admissions for boys,” said Ganesh H.S., Superintendent at the institute.

The problem recurs even in the largest ITI in the city. Though 255 out of 772 seats offered over 14 at Government ITI, Kadri Hills, are reserved for women, only eight have enrolled in the current academic year.

Though the intake is better in rural ITIs the numbers of female students are not impressive. In Women’s ITI, Puttur, only 13 out of 26 sanctioned seats have been filled for COPA, while 33 women joined the E&M course, which had a target of 42 students. Similarly, even with 33 per cent reservation for the 300-seat Vittal ITI, only 44 women have taken admissions.

“Perhaps girls believe that since this is a boy’s institute, they may not be comfortable here,” said Shivappa Mangalore, Principal of Kadri Hills ITI. He added: “Also, with most of our courses leading to jobs in industries in other districts, parents are not willing to send their daughters for these courses.”

Balakrishna A., Principal of the two women’s ITIs here, is optimistic of higher enrolments once changes in the syllabus and eligibility criteria were implemented. “Now, the computer course is very basic. The revised syllabus will have programming languages, web designing, networking, and this will increase the job opportunities for the students as well as attract more students. Also, with the minimum education required being reduced from pre-university to class 10, more students can access ITI courses,” said Mr. Balakrishna.

Another proposal that could spruce up the women’s ITIs is the introduction of Automobile Mechanics and Mechanical Refrigeration Air Conditioning courses. “Workers specialising in these two fields are in demand in West Asia, and because of this, the course will be lucrative for students,” he said.

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