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NSDC signs pact with Delhi University for skill training

LiveMint logoLiveMint 02-06-2014 Prashant K. Nanda

New Delhi: India’s National Skill Development Corp. (NSDC) on Monday signed an agreement with the University of Delhi to make vocational training a part of its full-time graduation programmes.

The government is trying to integrate skills training with its mainstream tertiary education programme rather than a subject meant for school dropouts or the less privileged. India aims to train 500 million people by 2022 to prepare them for jobs. NSDC alone has the responsibility to train 150 million by 2022.

“This will benefit students in two key areas—employment and entrepreneurship. A nationally certified skill certification will be of great help by the time they graduate,” said Malashree Lal, dean of academics at the University of Delhi.

At least 67 colleges of Delhi university will be part of the programme, the organizations said Monday in a joint statement. The training partners of NSDC will have to find jobs for at least 70% of the willing students whom they would train, according to the agreement.

“This is a big opportunity for students who wish to supplement their theoretical knowledge with practical hands-on training that will improve their employability in the increasingly competitive job market,” said Dilip Chenoy, managing director, NSDC.

These courses will be introduced in the second year of the four-year undergraduate programme from 2014-15 and will subsequently be offered to both second- and third-year students. Skill-based courses will cover four semesters. Students will have the option to avail bank loans via NSDC for these courses, repayable only after he or she has been placed in a job. This will also be the first time when NSDC will directly facilitate loans to students.

Vocational training will initially be imparted in areas such as information technology (IT), IT-enabled services, banking and financial services, media and entertainment, healthcare and telecom.

This is the beginning of a shift that will change the way India looks at vocational education, said experts. When one of the best universities is going ahead with vocational training as part of its undergraduate programme, others will follow.

Imparting such training at the university level is important as many of the fresh graduates are not job-ready and face difficulty in finding a job, said T. Muralidharan, chairman of managing director of TMIe2E Academy, a vocational training company.

There is no official data on graduate unemployment in India. “Graduate unemployment is a big problem in India and at any given point of time some 12 million graduates are looking for jobs,” said Muralidharan.

“Vanilla graduation programmes are of not much worth in the job market,” he said, adding that skill training is key to not only getting jobs, but cutting down unrealistic expectations and hype in campuses.

In addition, NSDC through its partners will also start the STAR scheme, which entails a cash reward of `10,000 to students who successfully complete the programme. Former finance minister P. Chidambaram had launched the scheme last year and allocated `1,000 crore for it to attract and motivate the youth to acquire vocational skills.

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