Vocational courses: Govt not interested in tying loose ends

After scrapping the directorate, govt extends no help to wrap things up

Nearly two years after the State government scrapped vocational courses, the truncated Directorate of Vocational Education (DVE) struggles to wrap things up before it is shut down permanently.

The DVE has to conduct two supplementary examinations for 21 two-year and nine one-year Job-Oriented Diploma Courses (JODCs) before it is curtains for it. Besides, it has to evaluate the answer scripts and declare the results. But with the government taking little interest in its affairs, the DVE is unsure if it will be able to achieve the task.

Here’s a sample of the government apathy. The DVE was to conduct the first of the last two supplementary examinations in October/November 2011 and the second one in March 2012.

But the go-ahead for the first examination was given by the Department of Primary and Secondary Education only on January 10, 2012, leaving the DVE with no choice but to conduct just one supplementary exam from March 24 to 30, this year. But that is not the only problem.

The exams are in about five weeks from now, but the DVE has not yet decided where to hold them. DVE officials say the exam centres will be identified only when the applications are evaluated.

But with most of its staff being deputed to the Department of Pre-University Education (DPUE), the DVE has no clue how to go about the job. What's more, H Marappa, the present Director of Vocational Education, will retire on March 31, 2012, just a day after the examinations are over. He says he does not know who will oversee the post-examination functions as the DVE should have been shut by then.

Informed sources say that Marappa wrote four letters in 2011 (on July 1, August 22, November 28, and December 5) to the Department of Primary and Secondary Education, seeking instructions. He wrote the fifth letter on February 16, 2012. Marappa confirmed that he was yet to hear from the government.

Given the government’s little interest, it is not clear if it will appoint a successor to Marappa, a task it has to fulfill before things are wound up. Also, the DVE requires adequate personnel to be deployed for the examination, evaluation, declaration of results, court cases, administrative affairs, etc. Currently, the DVE has only two assistant directors, one gazetted manager, and three second division clerks (SDCs), apart from a couple of office assistants. Marappa’s latest letter mentions DVE’s manpower, infrastructure, and other requirements.

“Before the DVE is shut down permanently, we have to finish up many things. Unless the government takes interest, we will continue to hang by the thread,” Marappa said.

G Kumar Naik, Principal Secretary, Primary and Secondary Education, sought to allay the fears and said that “appropriate things will be done at the appropriate times, why worry now?”

* The government scrapped JODCs on May 7, 2010.

* The State Legislature passed the Karnataka Job Oriented Course Employees Absorption Bill on April 6, 2011, paving the way for absorbing government teachers in PUE Department and private instructors in aided institutions.

* As many 2,896 people worked in JODC institutions (1,173 government teachers, 1,537 private teachers, 76 government non-teaching employees, and 110 private non-teaching workers).

* There were 554 JODC institutions (200 government and 354 private). Except eight, all have scrapped the courses.

* The last time DVE conducted an exam was in March 2011 (for 4th semester students of the last batch of 2009-10). Students who were admitted to the one-year JODC courses in eight colleges also wrote the exam.

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