New Delhi: Aiming to integrate skills in higher education, government has decided to set up on a pilot basis 200 community colleges within the existing colleges and polytechnics from the coming academic session.
These colleges will act a potent tool for implementation of the National Vocational Education Qualification Framework (NVEQF) notified last year, HRD Minister M M Pallam Raju said.
"Community colleges would offer opportunities for lifelong learning and bridge courses for level certification as well as movement from one stream to another. Industry including business, service, agriculture allied sectors will be associated integrally at all levels of activities in these colleges," he said at a conference on community colleges here.
Industry will also have representations on the board of studies and board of management of these colleges, thus going a long way in restoring industry confidence in competence of the prospective employees, he said.
Community colleges would offer credit based modular courses to facilitate mobility of learners into the employment market, banking of credit and re-entry into the colleges for skill upgradation.
Local community would be given preference in admission in these colleges, the Minister said, adding it will create a win win situation for stakeholders, learners, industry and community besides the college.
The Minister said the challenge before the industry is availability of skilled manpower.
According to NASSCOM, each year over three million graduates and post graduates are added to the Indian workforce, of whom only 25 per cent of technical graduates and 10-15 per cent of other graduates are considered employable.
This demand-supply mismatch of skilled workforce is a big challenge along with lack of inclination among youths to join vocational courses.
Therefore, integration of skills into higher education for making them relevant to learners is the key to addressing this mismatch and initiatives such as community colleges could help bridge the gap, he said.
He said with the notification of NVEQF, vocational course have started in 40 secondary schools in Haryana on a pilot scale while West Bengal, Karnataka and Assam are ready to launch their pilots soon.
Besides, eight other states have got their programmes approved for 2013-14. CBSE is also orienting private schools to accept the NVEQF to start vocational education programmes.>