New Delhi: Most of the students graduating from Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) in India will be considered Class XII pass, the Union government said on Tuesday, bringing a long-pending equivalence in the formal and vocational streams of education in the country.
With this, over 1.5 million ITI students will have the opportunity to move up the education ladder every year by pursuing higher education and improving their chances to land better jobs.
The decision was arrived after the human resource development ministry supported the proposal of the skills ministry, skill development minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy said.
But there is a caveat. If an ITI student has studied up to Class VIII before joining the ITI, he or she will get a Class X pass certificate. And if a student has passed Class X before joining the ITI, then he or she will be awarded a Class XII pass certificate.
Skills ministry officials said that their estimate says a majority of the ITI graduates will be considered Class XII pass.
“We have been talking about the equivalence, but this is the historic step that brings formal and vocational education on par. ITI graduates are considered key for promoting manufacturing will not be treated below par in education," Rudy said.
For the past five years, skill development has became a catch phrase in India and successive governments have been talking about bringing equivalence between formal and vocational streams of education.
With industries crying for lack of quality manpower, skill training assumes significance as it produces job ready human resources. An efficient workforce is beneficial for the country’s economy and helps increase the nation’s competitiveness.
Rudy said his ministry is in talks with the HRD ministry to explore the possibility of the new decision being effective retrospectively.
The minister said that the ITI graduates will get Class XII and X pass certificates from the national board of open schooling just by giving an exam.
For the past six decades, millions of students have passed out of ITIs but there was no validity of the ITI certificate for further studies, Rudy said.
“What we have done will have a national mandate now," the minister said.
“Some 63% of the ITI graduates land a job and the rest can now go higher up in studies and pursue a different career if they wish so. The point is all students should have equal opportunity," the minister said, adding that his ministry is now coordinating with 21 ministries and departments to bring equality in the skill training space.
The skills ministry is set to establish a National Board for Skills Assessment and Certification (NBSAC) on the lines of Central Board of Secondary Education to ensure quality in assessment and certification.
Rudy said his ministry is preparing a draft legislation for the purpose and it is likely to be tabled in the next Parliament session expected to begin in July.
This board, once ready, will assess the ITI graduates before they are awarded the Class XII certification.
Rajiv Mathur, head of standards and quality at National Skill Development Corp., a public-private body, said that such a huge mobility of students between formal and vocational streams and what the government has decided will do good to the ITI students in two ways—the dignity of their education and more choice to them in education and employment space.
India has over 13,000 ITIs, producing over 1.5 million skilled people a year.
Started in the 1950s, ITIs were considered as producer of foot-soldiers for the manufacturing sector. In recent times, it has though faced criticism on quality grounds.