The concept of Jawahar Knowledge Centres (JKCs) that came into existence to equip the rural students with employable skills has largely remained unchanged over the years even as the concept of soft skills and the industry's outlook towards the prospective employees has seen a huge transformation in the last 10 years.
“It has reached a saturation point and its existence and acceptance will depend on how fast it changes,” said a senior official working with the AP Society for Knowledge Networks under which the JKCs function. The government's apathy in releasing the funds or driving in some innovation has aggravated the situation. “New ideas are rarely accepted and it's like moving a mountain,” quips an official.
The funding has remained almost the same and even the allocated money was not sometimes released.
On an average, the government had been releasing Rs.3 crore every year to an organisation that covers about 600 engineering colleges and many more in the conventional sector.
Officials, however, say money is not the issue but the lack of support from the government, to make it more appealing.
Despite the lack of support and new initiatives, JKCs continue to play a great role in transforming the rural youngsters.
“The JKCs have been instrumental in helping 10,000 students get IT jobs among the 30,000 recruited in the State every year,” says Amarnath Reddy Atmakuri, CEO of A.P. Society for Knowledge Networks. But for the JKCs, rural students would have missed out on a lot of opportunities, he says.
He agreed that innovation had to be brought in and the best way was to incorporate the courses in the engineering curriculum spread over four years. Some seriousness should be brought in to ensure that students clear the capsule courses run by the JKCs as a part of the course.