Community colleges must impart traditional skills: Panel

Such skills should be upgraded, recognised and certified, it says

Skills like masonry, cobbling and motor repairing could be part of the curriculum at the community colleges proposed to be set up as an alternative to regular colleges, as recommended by a committee of state education ministers.

The panel has recommended that these colleges should offer three-year degrees with a mixture of knowledge and vocational skills, including those familiar to people for “profession, geographical location or caste” reasons.

In its report to Human Resource Development Ministry, the committee, headed by Madhya Pradesh’s school education minister Archana Chitnis, has also suggested that courses should be designed to upgrade the “traditionally available skills” to a certifiable level so that they are acceptable nationally.

“Such traditional skills should be upgraded, recognized and certified appropriately,” it added.

The proposed community colleges should produce skilled workforce to fulfill the wider needs of the industry. Besides preparing skilled workforce for the market, these colleges should pay equal attention to the development of entrepreneurship.

For this, they should also offer management related courses of varying durations. The skill component of the curriculum should come from the credit framework prepared under the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for the concerned sectors of the national vocational education qualification framework (NVEQF), the panel suggested.

The total number of credits required in a subject to get an honours degree should be clearly specified in the courses and students should be allowed to acquire credits at their own pace.

The learner should have the option to exit after completing certain credit points of a course and rejoin the course at his convenience later with full protection of the credit already earned by him, the panel recommended in its report.

Since these colleges are meant to serve the need of the community, the aspiring learners from the locality should be given preference in registration. 

Admission method

If the number of registered learners is more than the seats available, admission should be granted on 'first come first served' basis, it added.

The panel suggested that colleges should also offer short-term certificate courses of various durations to the learners, without insisting on formal qualification.

The cost of establishing these colleges in the public sector must be shared between the Centre and the states, the panel said, adding that private players can also be brought in as partners in a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model.

The panel suggested about 100 community colleges could be set up in the country.
It proposed 100 existing colleges or state polytechnics could be transformed into community colleges or be part of the existing institutions under a separate governing body.

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