Kolkata: In a bid to ensure employment for students after completion of their technical education, the Technical Education, Skill and Vocational Training department is keeping a close contact with the industry. “In recent times, we have experienced that the industry takes in a handful of people for the job of apprentice. We are urging the companies to increase their intake of students with vocational training, in allegiance to the Apprentice Act 1961,” Purnendu Basu, minister of Technical Education department said.
Vocational training as per the demands of the industry has been a focus area for the department in the last few years. This training had started in the year 2006 during the rule of the Left Front government, but training centres were very few in number, as a result of which competitiveness was lacking. After the Trinamool Congress-led government came to power, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee laid a lot of emphasis on vocational education.
“She realised that only a small number of students pursue higher education and the majority after Class VIII opts for ITI or vocational training. We have 2,700 schools at present where vocational training is being imparted. In a stride towards integrated approach to Skill Development, we have constituted West Bengal Skill Development Mission (WBSDM) for providing policy guidance,” Basu said.
The Paschim Banga Society for Skill Development (PBSSD) has also been made to make skill development interventions in terms of the overall policy of the government. “Our flagship scheme, ‘Utkarsh Bangla’, has been initiated recently for the entire non-institutional short term skill development interventions to provide wage/self-employment linked skill training to the residents of the state. Under this scheme, all interventions funded by the various state government departments, bodies or agencies from the state and other funds leading to skill development shall be made by PBSSD for the state while ensuring uniform courses supported by high-fidelity assessment and pan-India acceptable certification,” the minister maintained. Training has been provided to as many as 3.5 lakh students through the society. According to Basu, the present government has also taken a professional approach when it comes to selection of training providers. “We are making a thorough scrutiny of their track record before making the final selection. There are around 630 registered training providers at present and steps are being taken for qualitative upgradation of these training providers,” a senior official of the department said.The total number of polytechnic colleges has also increased. There were only 65 polytechnic colleges in the state in 2011 and now it has increased to 152 where 37,943 students can get admission in a year. The 248 ITIs have as many as 69,025 seats. “There is still a belief in our state that the students who go in for technical education are semi-educated. We are working hard to break this misconception,” Basu said.
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