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Soft skills course for Government college students

Rashmi Menon, June 1, Bangalore:

Nithya Mood, a final year student of Government Arts College, Chitradurga couldn't even think of clearing MBA entrance exams. She lacked confidence and felt she was not up to it.

This was six months ago. Nithya is now planning to attempt PGCET and KMAT, both MBA exams to be held in July, and even clinched a scholarship of Rs two lakh for joining a management college affiliated to Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu.

Nithya is one of the many final year students across the State, whose newfound self-confidence is credited to the Sahayog programme, rolled out by Department of Collegiate Education in January, this year. A pilot project, the programme is first of its kind in a government college and aims at polishing and fine tuning a student's soft skills.
A job fair conducted at R C College, Bangalore, in March gave an impetus to the programme. With over 20 companies ranging from BPO to retail and banking, the fair was attended by around 2,000 students from Bangalore and outside. About 1,500 students got job offers just on the basis of personal interviews.

"Nobody looks at students from government colleges. So, the companies who came for the job fair were surprised that the students had so much potential but for the poor communication skills. And, this is what we have boosted," said Dr Manika Ghosh, special officer, Office of the Commissionerate Collegiate education.


Ghosh, who is spearheading the programme, explained that it took nearly two years for the department to conceptualise the content, enroll the corporate trainers and put the system in place in all the government degree colleges across the state.

While students of 31 colleges in 22 districts have completed the programme till now, in 60 colleges it is ongoing and in another 27 it will begin post exams. In short, 118 colleges have implemented the programme and have trained 6,000 students. Based on the success of the pilot scheme, the department will extend it to 82 colleges from July.
"We started this project with a lot of effort. As there was no budgetary allocation, we used the money from Skill Development Corporation. However, it would only pay for the corporate trainers. Somehow we had to build infrastructure and adjust the programme in the students' syllabi too. Now, we have asked for separate budgetary allocation for the next academic year," said Commissioner of Collegiate education Dr N Nagambika Devi.

About Sahayog
The programme, under Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, is a 100-hour module, which the colleges have weaved into the students’ time tables. A nominal registration fee of Rs 100 is charged and the student undergoes 40 hours of soft skill training and 70 hours of job skills depending on the local job opportunities in that region.
For this, the department has tied up with seven training companies, who send their trainers to different parts of the state to train students.

In the soft skill training, the students will be taught about communications skills, resume writing, telephone etiquette, body language, how to handle group discussions and personal interviews, etc.

To make things easier, department also installed computers and set forth certain systems to ensure better coordination among students, principals, college programme coordinators and the department.  The training in colleges will be followed by a job fair under the aegis of the University, which they are affiliated to.  “For this, we have informed the Deputy Commissioners to cooperate. So it will be a mega affair,” says Dr Ghosh.
DH News Service

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