A participatory dissemination workshop on 'Canadian model of community colleges: Lessons for higher education policy in India' was organised at the ICSSR North-Western Regional Centre, Panjab University in Chandigarh on Friday.
Department of public administration, Panjab University and Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies, University of the Fraser Valley, Canada, has jointly conducted the workshop as a part of Shastri Indo-Canadian institute project.
Workshop coordinator BS Ghuman, while introducing the theme, said, the mandate of community colleges was two-fold. The first was equipping students with skills and credentials aligned to the job market and re-skilling displaced work force and secondly, enabling students through the mechanism of associate degree for upward mobility to higher education, he added.
In his inaugural address, PU vice-chancellor professor Arun K Grover
said community colleges should be considered mainline. But before implementing the community college model, issues pertaining to regulation and administration should be amicably resolved, he added.
In his keynote address, Scot Slessor, Canadian consul general, said community colleges help in bridging gap between skills formed and skills required in industry as community colleges emphasised on applied learning and research.
Ravneet Kaur, principal secretary, higher education, Punjab, said Government of India had proposed to set up 200 new community colleges in the next academic session. Punjab had to set up four community colleges, out of which two would be set up in the ambit of polytechnics and two as general degree colleges with a view to improve employability of liberal art graduates, she added.
She said the governing board and board of studies of these colleges would have representatives of industry and business.
Ramanjit Kaur Johal, chairperson, department of public administration, proposed the vote of thanks. BS Ghuman, Satwinder Bains and Dhian Kaur in their paper on "Canadian model of community colleges, lessons for higher education policy in India" opined that Canada had nearly 150 community colleges enrolling 1.5 million students.
Tejinder Kaur Dhaliwal, chairperson, Punjab School Education Board (PSEB), said industry driven courses should be introduced in community colleges.