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National Skill Development Corp picks up stake in Everonn

Finances & Budgets, Vocational Training

National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), which was formed by the Government of India, has taken an equity investment in Everonn Skill Development Limited (ESDL), a joint venture between Chennai-based Everonn Education and NSDC. The new company is proposing to invest around is planning to invest around Rs 700 crore for setting skill development centres across the country.

P Kishore, Managing Director – Everonn Education Limited said that the NSDC has committed around Rs 115 crore, which includes equity portion of Rs 15 crore and Rs 100 crore of loan. NSDC will have 27 per cent in EDSL, while Everonn will hold 74 per cent.

EDSL is planning to invest around Rs 700 crore, over the next three years for setting up centres across 270 locations. These centres will train 50,400 master trainers across 12 locations.
The first centre was inaugurated by S Ramadorai, Advisor to the Prime Minister in the National Skill Development Council.

Kishore added, over the next 10 years these centres would train 15 million people in nine key sectors including retail, construction, health-care, hospitality, IT/ITeS, gaming and animation.

The company has tied-up with companies based in Switzerland, Australia for content and is planning to partner with institutions in Japan and Taiwan for electronics, added Kishore. Commenting on the revenue mode, he said, the company will be looking at revenue through four models including from the government, industry and student loan.

Earlier, Ramadorai said that around 500 million need to be scaled up by 2022 in India. The critical components to focus include scale, implementation, monitoring, technology and accountability, he said.

Government of India is planning to add vocational training as part of curriculum in the Schools, said S Ramadorai. Speaking to reporters after inaugurating Everonn’s Master Resource Centre for Skill development in Chennai, he said, “the Draft is getting ready to introduce the curriculum in the 8th and 9th grade. Pilot is going on in the state of Haryana.”

Business Standard, August 02, 2011


School league tables to exclude thousands of vocational qualifications

Vocational Training

Thousands of vocational qualifications which do not offer pupils a chance to go on to further study after 16 are due to be stripped out of school league tables, the government has announced.

Qualifications such as an NVQ level 2 in hairdressing, which is worth the equivalent of six GCSEs, and an OCR level 2 national certificate in travel and tourism – worth four GCSEs – are likely to be ditched.

But ministers are expected to allow graded music exams to count as the equivalent of a GCSE from 2014. Music exams are currently given the same value as part of a GCSE.

Schools will still have the freedom to offer a range of courses but only results in the most rigorous qualifications will boost their position in league tables.

Ministers are proposing that qualifications should count only if they have been taught for at least two years and have good levels of take-up among students. Pupils must also be offered “good progression” into post-16 courses rather than a limited number of occupational areas. The qualifications must also have a substantial proportion of external assessment.

More than 4,800 qualifications currently count towards school results whether or not they include external assessment. Only two non-GCSEs will be allowed to count towards the existing five A* to C GCSE benchmark of success, the government says.

The number of “equivalent” qualifications taken in schools up to 16 has boomed in recent years from 15,000 in 2004 to 575,000 in 2010. The proposed changes follow a review of vocational education carried out by Professor Alison Wolf, a public policy expert. She argues that pupils need to acquire “broad skills” to enable them to thrive over a lifetime of change.

Wolf said: “In recent years schools have been under enormous pressure to pile up league-table points. When any qualification under the sun can contribute these, the pernicious effects are obvious. We need a single list of good qualifications, which all have the same key structural characteristics, but cover a wide range of content. They need to be stretching, standardised, and to fit easily into a typical pupil’s programme and into a school’s overall timetable.”

The government confirmed on Wednesday that the makeup of the English baccalaureate will stay the same for the next set of league tables, which will be published in January based on this year’s results. Pupils’ results will count towards the EBacc if they achieve a C or better at GCSE in English, maths, geography or history, the sciences and a modern or ancient language.

Brian Gates, chair of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales, accused the government of undermining religious education by not including it. He said: “The rigorous study of ethics, faiths and beliefs allows those selecting GCSE RE to develop strong written and verbal skills, as well as to gain a factual knowledge of the world we live in. It is a travesty that as we face challenges of cohesion and a weakening of our collective identity, the very subject that can make sense of it all has been deemed less academically viable than geography and history.”

The Guardian, July 20, 2011


Victoria to fund for vocational teacher training in India

Finances & Budgets, Vocational Training

Melbourne: Australia’s Victorian state government said on Thursday that it will provide USD 300,000 to Kangan Institute to establish a vocational teacher training programme in India.

According to an official statement, Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business Louise Asher said that the Victorian government will provide the funds to the institute to establish the training program in Maharashtra.

“Victoria is a leader in vocational education and the new vocational teacher training program will highlight the exceptional quality of Victorian education programs and help strengthen links with Indian institutions,” Asher said.

The minister said, “Kangan Institute is one of Victoria’s top quality technical training institutions and this partnership will support Maharashtra to build the skills of its workforce and improve business productivity.”

The statement said 300 vocational teachers across Maharashtra would learn new, practical methods of training and assessment.

“Victoria’s well-regarded practical vocational training model will be customised for Maharashtra, and teachers who complete the training will have follow-up mentoring and support as part of the programme,” the institute CEO Ray Giffiths said.

“The Victorian Government recognises the important role education plays in increasing business and cultural ties between India and Victoria,” Asher said.

“The new vocational teacher training program in India is the first of its kind for Victoria and is another important step in recognition of the strong relationship between Victoria and India.”

This is the second of two major announcements from the Coalition Government to strengthen the relationship between Victoria and India.

The Victoria-India Doctoral Scholarship program was launched last month, offering scholarships for Indian students seeking to conduct doctoral studies at Victoria’s leading universities.

The Indian Express, July 7, 2011


Schools try out ‘vocational baccalaureate’

Vocational Training

The International Baccalaureate has traditionally been seen as an elite qualification taken by brainy students at independent or selective sixth forms. But a new “vocational bacc” could be about to change that.

The IB Career-Related Certificate (IBCC) currently being trialled in a number of UK schools combines the academic rigour of the IB with vocational study.

Over a two-year period, IB students take six subjects (including a language), a philosophy-based course and 60 hours of community service. Students doing the new “pick and mix” IBCC qualification take a minimum of two IB subjects, a vocational qualification (such as a BTec or Applied A-level – a more practical, work-based qualification) and a number of “core” programmes that include community service and critical thinking skills. IBCC students also have to study a language, although this could be basic conversation skills or GCSE standard.

The idea behind the new qualification is to increase access to the IB, which is generally seen as more demanding than A-levels. “There are many students who are academically able, but for a variety of reasons – for example, confidence or organisational skills – are not able to manage six full IB courses,” says Theresa Forbes, IB head of regional development for Africa, Europe and the Middle East. “It’s still a very challenging course, but this makes it far more accessible.”

She also points out that the IBCC is a good fit with the recent Wolf review of vocational education, which placed a strong emphasis on the value of maintaining academic rigour in post-16 study.

It is a bold step for the International Baccalaureate Organisation, the not-for-profit education foundation behind both the IB and the new IBCC, which has never included non-IB qualifications such as BTecs or Applied A-levels in any of its programmes.

The Anglo-European school in Ingatestone, Essex was the first state school to offer the IB back in 1977 and the first to offer the IBCC. “We felt it was a great opportunity to open up the programme to a wider range of students,” says the headteacher, David Barrs. “The idea of this traditional, august body offering this kind of qualification is quite exciting.” The school has 10 students about to complete their first year of the programme and hopes to double this number for the second cohort, due to start in September.

Before schools can offer the IB, they have to be authorised as an “IB world school”. This means being vetted by the IBO, a process that can take up to three years. After that, they are inspected on a regular basis.

But three of the Kent schools piloting the new qualification – King Ethelbert school in Broadstairs, Hartsdown Technology school in Margate and Northfleet school for girls near Gravesend – are high schools in an area where the highest-achieving students are “creamed off” to go to grammar schools at 11, meaning they are unlikely ever to offer the IB. So by offering this to those that are not IB world schools, the IBO is really breaking new ground.

But it has been a contentious issue for some, says Paul Luxmoore, headteacher of Dane Court Grammar school in Broadstairs, which is also involved in the pilot. “There have been fears – which have largely been overcome – that the new qualification could dilute the IB brand,” he says.

The requirement to study a language – which underpins the IB’s mission to develop socially skilled young people who see themselves as global citizens – is another thorny issue. Expecting IBCC students to take an IB-level course in a language could, potentially, alienate students, says Luxmoore. “Some students arrive in the sixth form having been at a school where there isn’t a requirement to take a language at GCSE at all, so if you made an IB language a requirement, I think the IBCC would quickly be dead in the water.”

Michael Going has just finished his first year of the IBCC at the Anglo-European school. He is combining IB courses in history and Spanish with an A-level in sociology and an Applied A-level in travel and tourism. While the IB suits high flyers, until now there has not been an attractive alternative for students who are “good, but not brilliantly academically,” he says.

Before starting the IBCC course, Going didn’t really see himself as academic, but the “core” components of the course – approaches to learning, community service and a reflective project – have helped to develop his critical thinking skills. He is now hoping to apply for a degree course in economics and global development.

But is there a danger that this qualification could be seen as a second-rate IB? Absolutely not, says Forbes. “It’s still a very challenging course, but we see it as an alternative pathway, which retains the breadth and rigour of the IB and prepares students – in the broader sense – for university.”

Forbes says that universities have been largely positive about the new qualification. Because most of the different components of the IBCC (for example IB diplomas or BTecs) already have a Ucas tariff attached to them, students should have no problem securing a place at university. But as Amanda Lee, head of 14-19 education at Hartsdown Technology College, points out, because the students are generally taking a combination of subjects that attract fewer Ucas points, “they are less likely to be accepted by Russell Group universities”.

But cuts to sixth-form funding could threaten the new IBCC before it even gets going, warns Luxmoore. Funding for the IB has been capped at the equivalent of four and a half A-levels per student, but schools say the IB is equivalent to more than six A-levels in terms of staffing and resources. To make matters worse, the government has also slashed entitlement funding (which covers the cost of pastoral care, tutorials and extracurricular activities for 16- to 19-year-olds) from 114 to 30 hours per student. Sixth forms offering the IB have typically relied on this cash to fund the community service strand of the qualification.

In the UK, 139 state schools offer the IB, but with many wondering how they will make up the funding shortfall, heads are concerned that it could once again become the preserve of independent schools. If that happens, the future for the IBCC could be gloomy, too, says Luxmoore. “The majority of schools offering it are those already offering the IB, so with that under threat, there’s a real danger it will never get off the ground.”

The Guardian, July 4, 2011


UPA readies fresh push for vocational education

Learning Achievements, Vocational Training

Later this month the government will unveil a new initiative to integrate vocational education with mainstream education.

The move, if successful, will provide alternative avenues to reduce pressure on the universities that are unable to cope with the demand for undergraduate admissions and at the same time will also help create a pool of trained manpower for different industry verticals.

As a first step, the human resource development (HRD) ministry has tied up with a group of established state universities including the Bombay University to offer vocational courses at the graduation level with multi-entry and multi-exit facility for students.

“We want our education system to be inclusive and contemporary. In two weeks’ time we will launch the programme in 10 universities across India,” said a senior HRD ministry official, requesting anonymity as a formal announcement to this effect is yet to be made.

M.S. Kurhade, registrar of the Bombay University confirmed the development. He said the university is adding some new courses this year, but refused to give details.

The university caters to around 700,000 students in Maharashtra through its affiliated colleges.

The HRD ministry official said the initiative will help thousands of students who fail to get admission in universities in spite of scoring above average marks.

“Students scoring 70% marks have failed to enter many Delhi University colleges. Unless we innovate, it would be difficult to create a pool of talent for our growing economy,” said the official, adding that it would also bring quality students to vocational education, a segment which is largely perceived as an inferior choice.

Though an increasing number of students are applying for university education, all cannot be absorbed due to lack of infrastructure. For example, in 2011 as many as 186,000 admission forms were sold in Delhi University as against 140,000 last year, but only 54,000 can be given admission.

Without naming the universities, the HRD ministry official said that the bachelor in vocational education will be introduced in some of the universities of Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra among others.

“This is part of the Central government’s emphasis to streamline vocational education and devise a Central vocational education framework. Though only 10 universities are roped in this year, the number will increase significantly next year as government wishes to pursue it in the 12th Plan period,” said the official, adding that authorities have “already given a presentation to the Planning Commission on this subject”.

The HRD ministry has recently told the Central Advisory Board of Education that it wants to reform the vocational education segment as it would help bridge the skill gap and increase productivity in the labour force.

In a note, a copy of which has been reviewed by Mint, the government says, “only about 2.5 million vocational training seats are available in the country whereas about 12.8 million persons enter the labour market every year. About 90% of the employment opportunities require vocational skills, something that is not being imparted on a large scale in schools and colleges.”

“There is a need to build the element of vocational education in the general education and vice-versa for a holistic approach to human resource development,” the note further adds.

A second HRD ministry official said that after every six months, students of these courses will be awarded a certificate, which will help them get jobs if they want to to take a break from study to earn. “In a way, this will also arrest drop out in the graduation level. For every six months of education, students will acquire a particular skill set module,” the second official said, who also requested anonymity.

“I failed to get a seat in a good college of Delhi University in spite of scoring 75% marks. If a job-oriented course can give me admission in a good college, then I will go for it,” said Varun, supporting such a move.

However, some experts believe that fundamental question of faculty and curricula are very important to make any education initiative a success. Anustup Nayak, co-promoter and partner of iDiscoveri Education Pvt. Ltd, an education and consultancy firm, said: “There is no doubt on the government’s intention. But what about curriculum and teaching methodology? What about getting quality faculty? Only preparing video modules and some content cannot give an adult required skill-set.”

“Reflect, observe, feedback, application and assessment are key to imparting such courses. The proper execution and real outcome of such initiatives needs to be assured first,” Nayak argued.

Mint, July 4, 2011


14 engineering colleges in Karnataka to get Rs 228 cr grants with World Bank aid

Quality, Research, Vocational Training
Comments Off on 14 engineering colleges in Karnataka to get Rs 228 cr grants with World Bank aid

Student can be barred from admission for wasting seat: HC

Access to education, Vocational Training

A student dropping out in the middle of a professional course can be barred from taking admission in the same course again till completion of the programme because it results in wastage of a precious seat and opportunity for another meritorious candidate, the Delhi High Court has said.

A bench of justices Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and G P Mittal upheld the decision of Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University refusing to induct a candidate in Post Graduate in Medicine on the ground that he had dropped out in the previous academic year.

The court dismissed the plea of Dr Muveen Kumar who had challenged the University’s decision to debar him from taking admission. His plea was earlier dismissed by a single judge bench order of the high court.

The single judge had said “such an embargo is in larger public interest so that the precious seat in the Post Graduate Medical Course does not go waste.”

Kumar had opted out of the PG course in the field of ENT, six months after taking admission as he wanted to pursue his studies in some other stream. He re-appeared for the entrance test and qualified for the same but the University refused to induct him.

Dismissing his plea the court said “though such a restriction is undoubtedly harsh it cannot be viewed in isolation as through this restriction a greater objective in the larger public interest, to see that the precious medical seat does not go waste, is being achieved.”

The Indian Express, June 21, 2011


Sibal pitches for skill development in education system

MHRD, Vocational Training

The Union Minister of Human Resource and Development Kapil Sibal has pitched for developing skills in the youth of the country. The minister has pointed out that vocational education and skill development should be integrated in the educational system.

Sibal said this while addressing the inaugural session of the 58th meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) in New Delhi.

“It has become essential to develop a set of nationally recognized qualifications tailoring the qualifications to the requirements of industry,” said Kapil Sibal.

These qualifications in turn will help the youth to become productive members of society and the economy.

The National Vocational Education Qualification Framework (NVEQF) was discussed in the meeting extensively. The proposed framework aims to embed vocational education in the educational system providing for horizontal and vertical mobility for youth to seamlessly move from general to vocational education.

Sibal has also emphasized the integral role of State Governments in preparing this Framework, as the levels of diversity in skill development in the states will best be addressed by the State Governments.

He also said thus an element of diversity must be built into the education system to enable mobility; and the necessary unity that is also required will be provided by the standards set by a common NVEQF.

The high level meeting was attended by Dr. D. Purandeswari, Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Shri Narendra Jadhav, Member (Education), Planning Commission, Smt. Vibha Puri Das, Secretary, Higher Education, Smt. Anshu Vaish, Secretary, School Education and Literacy besides Ministers of various state Governments, members of CABE from academia and civil society.

India Education Review, June 8, 2011


Finding solutions in education

ICT, Vocational Training


Shantanu Prakash


Chairman and managing director, Educomp Solutions Ltd

Father’s Name

J. Prakash


Retired chief material manager, Rourkela Steel Plant

Shantanu Prakash is familiar with the small-town claustrophobia that is common to “steel kids” from central and eastern India. Growing up in Rourkela, where his father worked at the steel plant, Prakash had the typically idyllic lifestyle around family and friends with the constant gnawing feeling that there’s got to be more to life.

While other parents bought gifts, he got books, and grew up on “intellectual conversation that sparked off something that was larger than the influence of a small circle”. Raised on a constricted income, that was the norm among public sector employees in the 1970s and 1980s, Prakash moved to Delhi in 1988 after class X to live with his grandparents and study at the Delhi Public School.

The move liberated him.

Immersing himself into all activities cultural and entrepreneurial, Prakash dabbled in theatre, rock shows and revelled in the “large literary canvas” he was offered, both as a means to do something interesting and to earn some money. Though he stayed academically conventional, with a B.Com from Shri Ram College of Commerce and an MBA from Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad, something unconventional still remained in him.

“When I came out of IIM (in 1988), I knew I didn’t want another job,” says Prakash from Gurgaon. “My whole frame of reference was my father who worked in SAIL (Steel Authority of India Ltd) for 30 years, before retiring and moving to Delhi without enough money to buy a home. I wanted something of my own.”

He partnered an education entrepreneurship with a friend, setting computer laboratories in schools, before starting Educomp Solutions Ltd in 1992, which became a full-fledged company in 1994. Today, Educomp Solutions is a global education solutions provider with 14,000 employees, reaching 26,000 schools, 15 million learners and has a market capitalization of Rs. 4,451crore.

“The big change,” says Prakash, “came in 2005-06 when we realized we needed to be relevant to India’s education ecosystem, providing educational and vocational capacity to middle India. There is this tsunami of young people in India who need access to good education, not just a degree.”

Even though it’s a company for profit, Prakash says everything they do serves society. “India has a 400 million workforce, of which less than 10% have the opportunity for vocational training. India’s overall economic growth will suffer if you don’t have the human capital,” says the 46-year-old.

Prakash does not see his journey this far as a consequence of struggle, but of challenges. “I started with zero capital, everything was from scratch,” he says. “But it depends on how you perceive it. When you come from a small place, your whole circle of influence is small.”

Mint, June 3, 2011


Skills development school is the new killer app for some

Vocational Training

At a time when acute talent shortage is staring India Inc in the eye, an increasing number of private players are entering tie ups with government units to narrow the skills divide.

Chennai-based Everonn Education has collaborated with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), which is a not-for-profit company under the Union Ministry of Finance, to set up an international skills school to provide vocational training that is customised to suit industry requirements across nine sectors.

IT major Wipro’s trust Mission 10x has also tied up with Nasscom to train engineers and build their employability quotient.

“Collaboration with authorities like NSDC is the need of the hour and there is a pressing requirement to reach out to as many people in the working age population as possible,” said P Kishore, MD, Everonn Education.

Wipro’s vice president -HR, Pratik Kumar said in a statement that the programme will provide equal opportunity to aspirants from various parts of India, who wish to join the IT sector.

Estimates by various private and government bodies state that every year about 12.8 million youth enter the job market in India. However, 93% of the workforce ends up in the unorganised sector, getting almost negligible scope for formal training.

“Therefore training our available manpower is crucial, both from government as well as an industry standpoint. We need to train people in specific areas so that they can deliver, rather than just providing theoretical knowledge,” said Dilip Chenoy, MD and CEO, NSDC.

The skills school by Everonn and NSDC will run courses of one to six months duration in textile & apparel, retail, hospitality, automobile, healthcare, construction, IT&ITeS, basic engineering, multimedia; and will train students in various industry requirements including store managers, carpenters, plumbers, welders, among other. The courses, which are designed in collaboration with the industry, will be open for anyone seeking particular kind of training including school drop-outs, with fees averaging Rs9,000 per student.

Jayaraman TV, CEO, Everonn Skill Development, a subsidiary of Everonn, said that students from economically-weaker sections will be helped with loans and industry sponsorships.

“Those who successfully complete the courses will be helped with job placements,” said Jayaraman.

The school aims at training about 15 million people in the next 12 years with an investment of Rs153.76 crore, which would be needed to set up 271 multi-skill development centres. This model will have a revenue generating potential of aboutRs14,250 crore over the next 12 years.

Of late, quite a few other private players have entered into alliances with various state governments to create talent pools.

NIS Sparta and Tally Solutions have joined hands with the Union Ministry of Rural Development for training youth from below poverty line families for free in various disciples and placing them with firms in retail, telecom, banking and financial services sectors as book keepers, cashiers, junior accountants, customer service executives, etc.

Anand Sudarshan, MD& CEO of Manipal Education said that the government is a significant source when it comes to skill development as a vast chunk of funding comes from the government.

Manipal is collaborating with the governments of Orissa, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka for training locals in various skills and helping in their placements.

Hari Menon, CEO, IndiaSkills, Manipal City &Guilds, which provides skill-based training, said there would be collaborations with the governments of Rajasthan, Punjab, and Gujarat in future for creating and placing a pool of talent.

“In most cases, the learners will not have to pay for the courses.”

Chenoy said that more such alliances are required to scale up the employability quotient in the country.

“The government’s overall target is to train 500 million people by 2022 to meet skills shortage and this can be gradually met only through joint collaborations between government and industry.”

DNA, April 19, 2011

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