The emphasis on technical education in India, in the true sense, started in 2008. A lot of initiatives were taken by the central government. But the results were not as fruitful as expected. Then a committee led by Sarada Prasad (former director general of general employment and training in the ministry of labour and employment) was formed. Some of their suggestions were implemented by the government.
In West Bengal, Shyamal Majumdar, Professor, Jadavpur University, was given the responsibility to undertake a study on skill development in the state. He suggested several things. The study observed that there was a problem of vertical integration of skill development education. That means, in some cases there were schools of technical education but no corresponding colleges to take the education forward. In other cases, there might have been provisions for higher education in technical education but no school level basic technical education.
Indianisation of skills and skilling in agriculture
The most important thing that we have observed is the need for Indianisation of skill education. What Germany adopts may not be suitable for us. Our education should be different from Japan or the US depending on our needs and priorities. Other important weaknesses include paying least attention towards improving agricultural skills. For judicious use of fertilisers and water, cultivators need proper training. For nursery development or organic cultivation, one needs training. Proper training can minimise waste and increase productivity in agriculture. At present, plantation without soil is possible and even plantation without land is possible. Trained persons can do it. There are provisions for protected agriculture, that is, by using shed or net or by other means but this needs proper training. Fishery, poultry, and animal rearing may also be more productive if those are done by trained people. Rural people can prosper in this way and more people can be employed.
In West Bengal, we are concerned with polytechnic, vocational training and several short-term training courses. But we have a unique training programme, which we call Utkarsha Bangla Training. One attends these classes for free. Rather, the students get `50 per day for travel and food expenses. As a result, the attendance is better. There are several short-term courses for 200 to 800 hours duration. We are interested in combining training institutes and industry players. For example, in our ITI Tollygunge training centre, we give the infrastructure and companies like Maruti-Suzuki and Samsung come with their own sophisticated machines and train selected students.
After the training, a significant proportion of students are absorbed by Maruti-Suzuki. Ashok Leyland is going to join us shortly. Similarly, trainings for CCTV installation and
servicing and for installation and maintenance of solar panels are also being undertaken by us.
We emphasize on certification. There are a lot of people who are skilled in different fields but do not have any certificates. It is difficult for them to get jobs in organised sectors. We certify them after a brief training of a week or a month. The certificates are national level certificates and useful for getting jobs.