The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) Monday announced starting of skill building courses for students to enhance "employability".
The courses are a result of a memorandum of understanding signed in August 2008 between the university and the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).
"Various industries are facing an acute shortage of certified skilled people. These courses will cater to localised demand of skill and capacity building - it will link education to employability," V.S. Rajasekharan Pillai, vice-chancellor of IGNOU, told reporters here.
"Only five percent of India's work force is certified in some skill. This is over 80 percent in South Korea and 90 percent in developed countries. This time of economic recession is the best time to think of training, capacity building and up scaling institutions," Pillai said.
In the first phase, the university will operate in 52 centres in 42 cities spread across 16 states in the country.
The travel and tourism course have a capacity of 6,300 students, while the security and fire safety course can cater to 3,600 students. Spoken English and personality development courses can cater to 3,000 students, in all targeting 12,900 students, Pillai said.
"This is a lower-end programme so students who are class 8, 10 and 12 pass will be eligible," Pillai informed.
The first level of each course will be of six months and the advanced levels will be for 12 months. Distance learning, capsule learning and online training will also be provided along with practical hands-on training.
While 50 percent of the students will be sponsored, the remaining will not receive any direct financial assistance, Pillai said.
The objective of the tie-up is to make education "practically relevant to industrial and business application".
"This skill training courses are based on research and assessments in various industries - the training will be tailored to fit local needs and strengthen human capital," said Vijay Thadani, member CII and chief executive officer National Institute for Information Technology.
CII's role in the future will be to coordinate internships and final placements for students.
"The next phase will be to expand the outreach of the existing courses. We will soon prepare courses for paramedics and IT support industry, where again there is shortage of skilled trained human resource," Pillai said.