The Max Institute of Health Education and Research’s skilled training centre at the government medical college’s prime property for imparting healthcare-related skilled courses to poor students has not made an impressive start. Against the initial target of free training to 1,000 students having annual family income below Rs 2 lakh in nine paramedical courses, the institute could manage to begin just two courses with overall strength of not more than 30 students even as the institute is slated for official opening next month.
Under an agreement with the Punjab government, the property having newly constructed complex is handed over to the private agency, which is part of the Max group of hospitals, for 10 years with annual building rent limited to just 1% of what it earns from the paid courses.
Max staff say that their current focus is not to start paid courses, but to identify and enroll poor students as part of the mission. However, the intake is slow due to qualification norms.
Its project director Dr Prahlad Aggarwal said that the intake is poor in courses where enrolment is allowed for students having cleared 10+2 in the science stream. “These norms have been fixed by the central government’s Healthcare Sector Skill Council and accordingly adopted in the Punjab Skill Development Mission programme. “It will be good if the qualifiction of science background students is waived for enrolment purpose since all students will be fully trained during the courses of different healthcare courses. The state government has already been requested for it,” he added
Head of Punjab’s skilled development mission Rakesh Verma, however, said that there is no chance of amending qualification norms as these are central norms and applicable pan-India. However, the student mobilisation should not be a problem since students from across Punjab will be given free education in this institute and enough publicity will be done to ensure qualified students in its efforts to produce skilled manpower.
The courses are for dental assistants, general duty assistants, X-ray/emergency medical technicians, vision technicians, phlebotomy technicians, dietician assistants and diabetes assistants. The duration of these courses varies from three months to one year. So far, the private agency has begun dental assistant and general duty assistant courses where science stream is not required for enrollment.
Dr Prahlad said that they are not here to make financial gains as the purpose is to create skilled manpower. “We have already spent`10 lakh in setting up dental lab besides hiring experienced faculty,” he said.
College staff unhappy
Sources said that the staff in the medical college is unhappy over transferring of its property as it could have been housed its education block there since it has a hostel facility too.
A senior faculty said that the idea to create skilled manpower in the healthcare sector is a noble idea, but what if the private agency could fail to give free education to poor students for which such a large-scale infrastructure is shifted to them for years. “A close watch is required on its functioning,” he said.