The University Grants Commission (UGC) on Thursday approved draft guidelines for the “Introduction of Short-Term Skill Development Courses in Higher Educational Institutes”, which would pave the way for introduction of credit-based courses with duration of three to six months.
“Anyone who has passed the 10+2 or Senior Secondary examination or its equivalent is eligible for admission to the short-term courses,” Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar, Chairman, UGC, told The Hindu.
In its draft guidelines, UGC has identified short-term courses to be developed in focus areas including Artificial Intelligence; Robotics; Cloud Computing; Cyber Security; 5G Connectivity; Architectural Drafting; Basic 3D design; Electronics; Mobile Communication and Repairing; Digital Marketing, including courses in search engine optimisation, social media marketing, content marketing, and e-commerce management; FinTech, including courses in digital payments, blockchain technology, digital currencies, and financial regulations; and Basics of Start-ups and Entrepreneurship.
The UGC has framed the guidelines in line with the National Credit Framework (NCrF) notified by it, and as specified in the National Education Policy 2020. The guidelines will be available in public domain next week and feedback will be invited, officials said.
The UGC, in its draft guidelines, has specified that a short-term skill development course in any stream “shall be at least 12 credits and a maximum of 30 credits”. One credit consists of “15 hours for theory, which is one hour per week, and 30 hours for practical or skill training, which is two hours per week”.
The guidelines specify that maximum intake of students shall not exceed 60 for each cohort, with a minimum faculty-student ratio of 1:30.
“The short-term skill development course must have a greater focus on practical learning. The higher education institutes may develop a plan to facilitate employment opportunities and internships for the successful students completing the short-term skill development course,” the draft guidelines say.
Institutes may collaborate with the relevant Sector Skills Councils/Awarding Bodies and industries to gain credibility, access to placement opportunities, funding schemes and training, and ensure up-to-date course content and are eligible to offer courses subject to the availability of infrastructure and training capacity.
“It is desirable that these institutes establish a Centre for Skill Development Courses, which will maintain a profile of local job opportunities, skill requirements for the local industries in the region, monitor design, adoption and delivery of these courses,” UGC has specified.
Institutes can also sign memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with industry to set up infrastructural facilities for smooth running of the centre which include sufficient building space, workshop space with appropriate machinery installed, appropriate tools and equipment, and laboratory equipped as per industry standards, UGC has stated.
Over the next three years, 85 million jobs will be lost and 97 million new ones will be created, the UGC said. Nine out of 10 leaders report that they either already have skill gaps or anticipate having them during the next five years, causing a shortage of competent talent.
“Quality education that meets the need of the industry and enhances employment, is a pressing need. Forty-eight per cent of Indian companies have trouble filling job openings because of shortage of skills. Short-term courses provide an opportunity to explore new fields or industries in a lesser duration as compared to long-term courses,” the guidelines further said highlighting the need for such courses.