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Gujarat looks to private sector to help fix vocational education

Gujarat looks to private sector to help fix vocational education
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First Published: Tue, Aug 19 2008. 10 14 PM IST

New role: A file photo of IIM, Ahmedabad. The Gujarat government has asked the institution to rate and mentor the courses designed by the private sector in the industrial training institutes of the st
New role: A file photo of IIM, Ahmedabad. The Gujarat government has asked the institution to rate and mentor the courses designed by the private sector in the industrial training institutes of the st
Updated: Wed, Aug 20 2008. 03 11 PM IST
Ahmedabad: Gujarat is looking to the private sector to refurbish courses at its technical training institutes. On its part, the state government plans to offer basic infrastructure such as land and building at polytechnics, engineering colleges and industrial training institutes, and fund up to 50% or Rs1 crore towards the cost of training equipment and machinery. The remaining would be paid for by the concerned player that would include training the faculty.
“The industry knows what is best for itself in terms of manpower quality. So we decided to bring them into the system,” says Chandan Chatterjee, general manager, project and technology, Industrial Extension Bureau, the nodal agency for industrial investment in Gujarat.
New role: A file photo of IIM, Ahmedabad. The Gujarat government has asked the institution to rate and mentor the courses designed by the private sector in the industrial training institutes of the state. Photograph: Madhu Kapparath /Mint
The government has signed a memorandum of understanding with General Motors India Pvt. Ltd that sees the firm investing more than Rs40 lakh to develop and run courses on automotive technology at Tarsali Industrial Training Institute, or ITI, in Baroda district.
The courses would leverage the auto maker’s global resources and take advantage of expertise at its factory in Halol, Gujarat, and its technical centre in Bangalore. The company will also upgrade infrastructure at the ITI and assist in other course-related facilities.
Similarly, engineering and construction company Larsen and Toubro Ltd is planning to take at least 10 ITIs under its fold to train students for manufacturing industries. L&T will upgrade skills at these institutes, and take the best students to its training complex in Hazira, Gujarat.
Three sectors that have seen interest in this programme include chemicals, engineering and textiles, Chatterjee said.
Gujarat’s approach builds on the central government’s plan to set up centres of excellence. The state intends to hand over management of 22 industrial training institutes to the private sector for 20 years to improve their quality.
“However, 20 years is too long a time and most private players who are in the industry may not be comfortable with running educational institutes. So, if they are not able to run the show or feel uncomfortable, we provide them an exit option after three years,” Chatterjee said.
The state government is talking with some 25 companies and institutions for them to partner it for technical education. Besides General Motors and L&T, Welspun India Ltd, Gujarat Chemical Association, Suzlon Energy Ltd and ABG Shipyard Ltd have shown interest in the plan, he said.
The state government has also asked Indian Institute of Technology at Mumbai and Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad to rate and mentor these courses designed by the industry.
Besides reducing the burden on industry, the move also hopes to “open more opportunities for locals,” said Saurabh Patel, minister of state for industry.
“Most courses in the technical institutes in the state cater to requirements of industries that belong to the past. In today’s dynamic business environment, the government system may not react quickly,” he pointed out. For example, Chatterjee said there are over 100 paper making factories around Vapi in southern Gujarat that employ more than 100,000 people, but there are no training courses available for the workers.
While a private player can recover some of its costs by charging a fee for the courses it would run, the government is asking that at least 25% of the trainees be guaranteed jobs after they successfully complete a course. “This is being done so that employment is guaranteed to a section of these students,” said Chatterjee, who is also director of the state-promoted Centre for Entrepreneurship Development.
Gujarat has 26 engineering colleges, 61 polytechnics and 219 industrial training institutions. Chatterjee said private players could also run concurrent courses, depending on their staffing requirements.
The state has also roped in wind power firm Suzlon, which is spending Rs1 crore to check the quality of education in the state’s polytechnics and suggest changes.
“We are studying not just the pedagogy but infrastructure, student aspirations and faculty quality and their problems. We would also be involving the industry at large,” says Nilesh Vaishnav, head of corporate social responsibility support at Suzlon Foundation. “If required, Suzlon may even take up a pilot to show the way.”
Suzlon’s chairman and managing director Tulsi Tanti studied for a diploma in mechanical engineering at Rajkot Polytechnic in 1975-76 and “has personal stake in improving polytechnics in Gujarat,” Vaishnav said. “We could have well set up a college or institute on our own but it would not go a long way and so when we got the opportunity to carry out such a study, we jumped at the idea.”
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First Published: Tue, Aug 19 2008. 10 14 PM IST