Student enrollments for courses at Maharashtra’s Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) has increased by over 7% this year, revealed Directorate of Vocational Education & Training (DVET) figures.
This year, around 1.17 lakh students sought admissions for welding, fitting, electrician and sewing courses, up from 1.08 lakh students in 2015-16 and 1.06 lakh students in 2014-15.
Government-run ITIs continued to be preferred over private ones. Around 86,000 students bagged seats in government ITIs, while 31,000 got seats in private ones. At the end of the admission process, only 8% seats in government ITIs were left vacant compared to 23% in private ITIs.
The ITIs also witnessed a surge in the number of applications this year. The 1.33 lakh seats received applications from around 3.23 lakh students this year. The number stood at 2.83 lakh applications for 1.25 lakh seats in 2015-16.
While the experts said that the demand for skilled labour in industries remains high and continues fueling the popularity of vocational courses, they are divided on whether the central government’s flagship ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’ initiatives have a role in it.
“Many industries want to align themselves with the Prime Minister’s Skill India mission. The ITIs offer skilled labour who are ready to work for lower wages,” said Gopakumaran Thampi, principal, Thadomal Shahani College of Engineering (TSEC).
According to Kamal Karanth, MD, India, Kelly Services and KellyOCG, the marginal rise in enrolments is despite the sluggish growth in manufacturing. “Many of those who opt for vocational courses don’t aspire to work in large industrial houses. Instead, they are looking for self-employment, working as plumbers and electricians,” he said.
On the other hand, the head of an executive search firm suggested that the 7% rise in enrolment is too small a change to deduce anything. “It could be a sign that the government initiatives are clicking, but one will need to assess the impact of these programmes at the grassroots level,” he said.
Sanjay Boraste, principal, MVP ITI in Nashik, said that the recent reforms in vocational education which seek to add a mandatory internship to ITI courses and make equivalent to Class 12 are also responsible its popularity.