President calls for greater enrolment

President calls for greater enrolment

Enhancing skills is a challenge in the country

Currently, the GER in higher education in India is only 12.4 per cent, while the global GER average is 27 per cent.

Speaking at a function organised to commemorate the silver jubilee celebrations of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), Patil admitted that a large chunk of workforce in the country had no skill certification as in developed countries.

“Only 5 per cent of the workforce in India has some kind of certification. This is in contrast to over 85 per cent in developed countries. Enhancing skills is a challenge in the country,” she said, adding that distance education and open learning systems should take up the challenge of skill certification.

Work-integrated learning

Urging IGNOU to launch a technology-driven study system to reach out especially to rural students for skill development and certification, Patil said encouragement of work-integrated learning followed by examination, certification and accreditation through distance education would be of help.

There is a need for collaboration with the industry and other players to achieve the objective, she said.  The programme was also attended by Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal and his junior colleague D Purandeshwari.

“I believe open universities should also generate a movement in rural areas that will impel people to acquire knowledge and skills for self-empowerment,” the president said.  Patil launched the Gyan Deep programme, a special project initiated by IGNOU in collaboration with the Indian Army to create a process of certification of higher education of soldiers.

“Studying, while in employment, also offers opportunities for the enhancement of career opportunities. I am, therefore, happy that IGNOU and the Indian Army have decided to work together to create a process of certification of higher education of soldiers,” Patil said.

“Till now, the skills the Army personnel acquired while in service were not reflected through any formal degrees awarded to them. Now, they could get appropriate certification, which would be helpful in their work and career,” she said.  Patil also launched the Flexi Learn Platform, which will provide an opportunity for prospective learners to sample a course before enrolling.

Educational programmes, like the Gyan Darshan Channel of Ignou, which are reaching over eight million homes, should be useful in motivating people for skill development, she said.

Addressing the gathering, Minister Kapil Sibal laid stress on access, inclusion and excellence in education. He said it would be necessary to introduce an alternative module to provide education to maximum number of people.