‘To bridge gap between skills sought in job market and unemployed youth’

In a move aimed at making education oriented to the demands of the job market, Karnataka’s Education Department is introducing vocational training in Class 9 in 100 government schools in 10 educational districts from the new academic year, on a pilot basis.

The project, introduced as part of the Central Human Resource Development Ministry’s National Vocational Education Qualification Framework (NVEQF), is being implemented in Karnataka by the State’s own funding in three streams: information technology (IT), automobile and retail.

While the first two streams have been introduced in 40 schools, the last has been introduced in 20, based on infrastructure availability in the schools and proximity to industry.

The skill will be taught alongside other subjects for three periods a week.

Assessment of market

Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri, speaking after inaugurating an orientation programme for headmasters of the chosen schools, said the courses had been introduced after discussions with industries on availability of jobs.

More streams would be introduced in the years to come.

The Minister said vocationalisation of secondary education would go a long way in building a bridge between the enormous unemployed manpower and needs of the job market.

Mr. Kageri said while the pilot project is being funded by the State, the Centre had, in principle, agreed to provide Rs. 150 crore to fund the third phase of the project in 250 colleges.

Need of the hour

Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education, Kumar G. Nayak, said re-orientation of secondary education to include vocational training is the “demand of the time” and it would allow structured training and certification in skills that have a huge market. He said the course would be flexible and allow a student to either continue in higher education or move into the job market as he completes secondary education.

Unskilled dropouts

Commissioner for Public Instruction S.R. Umashankar said that there are 25 per cent dropouts from high school and they enter the job market without any skills, which results in them being underpaid.

He said liberalisation and opening of the economy have produced many avenues, especially in the service sector, which could be exploited if there was a match between the skills sought by the market and the unemployed youth.

Hours of training

In the first year of implementation, children in Class 9 (Level 1) would go through 100 hours of skill training, mostly oriented to practical classes.

While IT training would be imparted by those already teaching in schools and automobile through the staff of Industrial Training Centres, course training in retail has been outsourced, he said.

The pilot project in 2012-13 will cover Bangalore Rural, Ramanagaram, Mysore, Hassan, Belgaum, Dharwad, Sirsi, Gulbarga, Raichur and Yadgir.

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