The Times of India |
NEW DELHI: The government is planning an innovative strategy to use the approximately 4.5 lakh engineering and polytechnic seats that stay vacant every year to teach skill training courses. The plan, which is at a preliminary stage with approvals needed to make it actionable, aims to plug the skills gap, provide options for youth who might be falling out of any kind of professional or academic training, and use the infrastructure in polytechnic and engineering colleges where seats remain vacant. In 2013-14, about 4.62 lakh seats remained vacant in various engineering and polytechnic institutes affiliated to All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). The trend of seats remaining vacant due to a lack of demand has been noticed for some years, but has emerged as a major issue over the last three years. The vacant seats result in idle infrastructure in these institutes, and hurt their financial viability. The idea of using infrastructure in the government, private and corporate sector for imparting vocational training in a shift system was discussed at a review meeting of the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship with PM Narendra Modi. Minister for skill development and entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy has written to human resource development minister Smriti Irani seeking the removal of the “condition of exclusivity” of AICTE-approved institutions, and allow skill development courses at these entities.
According to the skill development ministry, this would mutually benefit both sectors. “This will serve the dual purpose of enhancing capacity for skill training without further investment, and promoting optimal utilization of surplus infrastructure,” Rudy said in his letter. Officials from the skill development ministry have held several rounds of meetings with officers in the department of higher education and AICTE. The chairman of AICTE has agreed in principle to the proposal. According to government data, in 2013-14, Andhra Pradesh topped the list of states with the highest number of vacant seats in engineering and technology institutes at 1,09,354, followed by Tamil Nadu (81,365 seats), Maharashtra (48,531) and Uttar Pradesh (43,291). Experts attribute the vacant seats to the slowdown in various sectors of the economy and lack of job prospects. – Courtesy