Coming soon to your neighbourhood — a community college that will provide an associate degree and vocational training to help you land a job.
The UPA government on Saturday launched two-year programmes leading to an associate degree that can be later used to transfer to an undergraduate college.
Community colleges were a method of launching widespread learning revolution, said MS Swaminathan, a Rajya Sabha member, who gave the keynote address at the launch.
The programmes will be offered by community colleges in association with the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).
In the first phase, a list of 100 institutions identified by an expert committee will function as community colleges, offering flexible and skill-oriented vocational education.
While IGNOU will take care of the curriculum, the institutions will be responsible for financial expenses and teaching.
IGNOU is in talks with various universities, including DU to recognise the associate degree and enable transfer of students who want to join an undergraduate programme in a regular college.
"This is how it happens in the US. Students join a community college and once they earn the credits required, they transfer to a state college," said Latha Pillai, Pro Vice Chancellor, IGNOU.
“The first step is to institutionalise community colleges and help students and citizens get skill-based knowledge," Pillai said. “Then if they want to join formal education, they can think about it. We are also discussing this transition from community to regular colleges with various universities."
“Only five percent of Indians have had any kind of vocational training as compared to 60 per cent in developed countries,” said V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai Vice Chancellor of IGNOU. “While we have only 2.5 million vocational education seats, 30 million Indians enter the job market each year.”
Till date, 35,000 students have been helped by 152 community colleges spread across 17 states. However, the supply was much less than the demand.
“Social inclusion in education means access to education. Community colleges will make this possible. The curriculum of community colleges will also be more socially relevant because members of the society will be involved in framing it,” said Swaminathan.