Chennai: Despite the rising demand for skill development courses, the MSMEDI (Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Development Institute) in Chennai, which till last year offered nearly 500 courses, has not been fully operational since the December floods with hardly five ongoing courses now.
The MSMEDI office at Guindy had been badly affected during the floods and every course had to be stopped temporarily. Even after the government-funded schemes and courses were resumed, the self supported skill development courses had been put on the back burner. The institute has decided to reduce the authorizations given to private institutions for self-supported skill development courses.
MSMEDI under the Union Ministry of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises gets into knowledge partnerships where they make use of private institutions’ resources, equipment and faculties to impart their course to students. Several skill development courses on welding technology, advanced automobile technology, mobile and laptop servicing, and several other sectors were available to students till last year through this partnership. But authorizations to institutions for these partnerships had abruptly stopped towards the end of last year after the floods.
These courses were particularly helpful for school dropouts, and those who have failed 10th or 12th boards, to learn a skill during a month-long training programme that helps them to find a job or open a business. However, the focus on practical training has made this course attractive for engineering graduates and diploma holders too, who take up these courses to enhance their skills to increase their job prospects. With these courses coming to a halt, employment and entrepreneurship opportunities of several students are also being cut short.
Disagreements with the private institutions is one of the main reasons for withholding approval to these courses. “We find it difficult to control the private institutions which we give authorization to conduct courses. Also we can’t give approval to an institution unless it satisfies the required norms,” said director of MSMEDI, S Panikkassery. “Several institutes tend to misuse our name and showcase us in bad light. Looking at these problems, we are trying to conduct all the skill development courses within our campus.” But lack of facility and resources has been a major obstacle for MSMEDI to conduct the courses on campus. In the absence of proper financial support from the government and the damage to classrooms and training equipment in the December floods, the work to restore the skill development courses is going on at a slow pace.
The director further said, “About four to five courses such as computer training courses and export documentation programmes which don’t require much of equipment are going on. We might get back on track with the courses hopefully by the year-end.”
Several institutions which had been offering these self supported skill development courses had abruptly stopped their classes resulting in a loss. Suresh Radhakrishnan who runs a computer centre in T Nagar had incurred losses after MSMEDI had stopped authorization to the self supported skill development course he was offering. The course had been regularly offered every month since 2014 in his institution until it had stopped abruptly last year. He said, “Even now many students are coming forward eagerly to inquire about the course so that they can be placed in the field. It is disheartening to send them back. Many students who have done this course are settled really well but now despite demand we cant provide them.”
With a drop in regular pay checks, Suresh sees more than Rs 70,000 loss every month as a result of this authorization delay. To make up for the drop in income, they are currently offering carpet training courses which try to make up for absence of skill development course. He also adds, “It just makes up for 40% of the income we got when we were providing the MSMEDI course. We are waiting to get back on track. Also there is no alternative to the MSMEDI certification course provided by the government.”
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