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HRD ministry hurdle to skills universities

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The Telegraph | Friday , March 17 , 2017  | Special Correspondent |

Rajiv Pratap Rudy (left) , HRD minister Prakash Javadekar

Rajiv Pratap Rudy (left) , HRD minister Prakash Javadekar

New Delhi, March 16: The human resource development ministry has come in the way of another ministry setting up universities specialising in skill-based programmes. The National Skills Universities conceptualised by the skill development and entrepreneurship ministry seems to have been put on the backburner following resistance from the HRD ministry.  “Several ministries supported the proposal while some like the department of higher education and the ministry of HRD had some reservations. The ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship is in the process of examining the comments received,” skill development minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy told the Rajya Sabha today in reply to a question by Congress member Ranjib Biswal.   He said a working group had been constituted on March 31, 2015, to prepare the road map for setting up the universities. It submitted its report on April 22, 2015, along with a draft bill for the establishment of the National Skills Universities.  The draft bill had been circulated among the central ministries and departments and state governments concerned for their comments. No state has given feedback yet.

To a supplementary question by Trinamul Congress leader S.S. Roy, Rudy said National Skills Universities proposed to offer all skill-based programmes, many of which are under the regulatory regime of the HRD ministry. The All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) regulates all engineering, management, architecture and pharmacy courses.  Besides, the University Grants Commission has advised all universities to start bachelor in vocational courses. “This particular bill was trying to create the ecosystem of imparting skills under one vertical. This is a policy decision, which has a long-term impact,” Rudy said.  HRD ministry sources said Rudy’s idea of skill education under one vertical meant that the skill development and entrepreneurship ministry would have to be given the domain of the entire skill education, including engineering.  The proposed National Skills Universities wanted to start degree programmes in all vocational areas. “The HRD ministry argued that all the courses being envisaged by the skills universities are already being offered by engineering colleges, polytechnics, IITs, NITs and general colleges. The need for such specialised universities was not explained,” a source said.  Currently, skill development programmes are being offered by 18 central ministries and departments. –  Courtesy

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