New Delhi: Beginning next academic year, students of the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) will be allowed to take breaks from their two-year courses to work. The government has set out to overhaul the 60-year-old industrial training system to address a number of issues.
“Students will have the freedom to leave their study after every six months to take up a job,” said R.L. Singh, director of training at the directorate general for employment and training, labour ministry.
At least 1.2 million students study at 8,800 ITIs. The new system will allow them to return to resume studies from where they had left.
“The course will be made modular to facilitate this transition,” said Singh.
The effort is part of a larger goal: India aims to train 500 million people by 2022 to help industry get enough manpower and bridge a demand-supply gap.
It is also an attempt to improve employability and make ITIs more relevant to industry.
“We had received feedback from several stakeholders. Some said that our courses are too long, some said it’s obsolete and others said it’s not industry-worthy. Now, we have initiated the change,” said Singh.
India began establishing ITIs six decades ago to produce skilled workforce for industries, but the quality of students has been a worry.
Overhauling ITIs will help both the government and industries, especially as there’s a shortage of manpower, said Narayanan Ramaswamy, executive director, education, at consulting and audit firm KPMG. “But for that, courses need to be in alignment with the demand.”
The labour ministry will, as a first step, introduce a semester system in ITIs, which offer training in 116 trades.
The regional directorate of apprenticeship training (RDAT), a body under the labour ministry, will prepare the new syllabus in consultation with the industry, said S.J. Amalan, RDAT, Kolkata.
Eliminating redundant courses and making ITIs flexible will help create a better pool of professionals, he said. “The employability of students will improve and the industry will not complain.”
The new system will be in place before the 2012 academic year. “By adopting a new system, examinations and evaluations will increase, but we have to change for good,” Singh said.
Each semester will be a stand-alone module to allow students to take breaks.
“It will be job-linked and modular. After six months, a student can take up a job and if he wants to come back then he can through (a) multi-point entry system re-start the course from where he had left,” said Singh.
The story so far
• Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) were set up in mid-1950s
• In 2007, as part of a new skill development initiative, industries were allowed to adopt ITIs. Nearly 1,396 ITIs were selected for this
• Government announced interest free loans to ITIs to revamp infrastructure in 2007
• In May 2010, the National Council for Vocational Training recommended the introduction of employability skills such as spoken English for ITI students. This will come into effect in August 2011
• In March 2011, the government had ordered an IT literacy scheme to make ITI students tech savvy