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Obama-Singh's 'knowledge initiative' giving boost to vocational studies

Source : Daily Bhaskar
July 09, 2012

 

Date: 9th July 2012

Ahmedabad: The education circle is abuzz with latest international tie-ups. Mahatma Gandhi University has partnered with Brown, Duke and Plymouth State University while Banaras Hindu University has found an able ally in University of Pittsburgh.

With announcement of Obama-Singh 21st century Knowledge Initiative, United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) has announced an open competition to support exchange of knowledge that may include but may not be limited to curriculum design, research collaboration, seminars and a host of other activities. These should be designed in a manner to create expertise, develop scholarship and teaching, and promote a consistent, long-term association with partner institutions.

Rutgers University is slated to partner with Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai to help fill dire needs of the world’s largest young workforce and widen their skills. 

One of the main facets of the partnership is to create a new national and vocational multi-skill school in India that will train about one million people each year. A $250,000 grant from Obama-Singh Knowledge Initiative has been identified to fund Rutgers-Tata Institute’s efforts to build India’s higher education capacity. 

In this regard, vocational-isation of secondary schooling is considered an important step in increasing vocational relevance of education and in helping students prepare for effective participation in any area of work. Right from 1st Five Year Plan to the 11th, importance of vocational education has been emphasised. 

Though its introduction in secondary education may not be considered very appropriate for developed countries, India is looking at vocational education as a means to enhance individual employability and reduce mismatch between demand & supply of skilled manpower to industries and multinational companies. The Centre offers a set of sponsored schemes whereby financial assistance is provided to the states to set up administrative structure to conduct vocational surveys and prepare relevant curriculum, study handouts, training manual, teacher-training programme, support system for research and development, and evaluation among others. 

Financial assistance is provided to NGOs and voluntary organisations for implementing specific and innovative projects and short-term courses. 

Apart from the Obama-Singh Initiative, India has independent plans to broaden its trained skill force. Establishment of about 100 community colleges is in the blueprint stage. CV Raman fellowship has been announced for first troupe of 300 faculty members for their post-doctorate research opportunities in USA. About 10,000 teaching professionals are scheduled to be sent over next five years.

Widening of skill development system, reform in higher education and development of scalable solutions are critical to India. These can quickly enhance quality and quantity of educational opportunities to 550 million Indians that are under 25 years of age. If implemented appropriately, The Obama-Singh initiative will go a long way in fulfilling this need and filling this gap.

 
 
 

 


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