The government is considering a proposal to make two-year diploma courses at the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) equivalent to Class 12 in order to ensure greater participation in skill training programmes.
That will mean if a student completes an ITI course, she will be eligible for admission in a graduate degree programme at a college or university. Students may, however, have to do a bridge course in the degree opted for.
The proposal mooted by the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship is under consideration of the human resource development ministry. The proposal has been circulated to all ministries involved in skill development programmes, sources said.
When Narendra Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat, he made the ITI diploma course equivalent to Class 12 but those students could only get admission in engineering diplomas.
The ITIs impart skills in various fields such as fabrication, electronics and automobile industries to students.
“The ministry is of the view that ITIs that come under the skill ministry should be considered equivalent to Class 12 so that students can join a degree course directly. They have asked CBSE to consider ITI courses’ equivalence with Class 12,” a senior official said.
The HRD ministry is of the view that the move requires greater consultation with educational boards such as the CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education). A decision is expected soon. A joint working group comprising officials from the HRD and skill development ministries has been constituted to look into the modalities.
At present, the more than 13,000 ITIs cater to about 1.9 million students. While about 2,293 are government-run ITIs, 10,812 are privately run. In January, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the skill development ministry to open 7,000 new ITIs within a year.
The ITIs are viewed as the pivot around which the government’s skill development initiative is being framed and are expected to churn out big numbers of post-school, technically trained professionals.
The ITIs’ significance is rising in the face of plummeting demand for engineering courses in the country, with 800,000 seats in engineering colleges — both government and private institutes and comprising the IITs, the NITs, and renowned colleges — going vacant in the last three years.