On offer: R50 per day to hone skills

Written by Kirtika Suneja | New Delhi | Updated: Sep 5 2012, 09:16am hrs
In what could be a first in the higher education sector, under-skilled youth will soon be given monetary incentives to join community polytechnics to hone their skills. Such a scheme is being mooted by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), which has proposed R50 to be paid per day to each student for joining such polytechnics.

The proposal is currently being vetted by various ministries including those for human resource development (HRD) and rural development, apart from the Planning Commission.

When contacted, AICTE chairman SS Mantha said: Such a scheme is beneficial and is being moved. It can lead to a good model framework in the higher education space.

According to officials, the council has sought R1,500 crore for the programme as part of which it aims to train 1 million students for 200 days in a year.

Currently, incentives such as free lunch, uniforms and books are offered to students under various schemes for elementary and school education like the Midday Meal Scheme and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan.

The proposal also includes certain minimum operational costs that would be borne by the community college. While colleges run by trusts will not be funded, private colleges will be given some financial support.

Currently, there are 1,742 polytechnics under the aegis of the HRD ministry.

The proposed scheme, if rolled out, will ease the country's unemployability problem. According to a TeamLease report, 58% of Indias youth suffer some degree of skill deprivation and only 3% of grade 11-12 students are under the ambit of vocational education against the target of 25%.

Besides, the training capacity is of a mere 3.1 million per annum relative to 12.8 million annual new entrants to the workforce.