'Empowerment centres, laptops key to skiling students'

'Empowerment centres, laptops key to skiling students'

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa hands over a laptop to a student during the launch of free laptop scheme on the occasion of National Youth Day in Bengaluru on Sunday. Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwath Narayan and Mangalanathananda Swami of Ramakrishna Mutt

The state government on Sunday kick-started the launch of Youth Empowerment Centres to offer career guidance and support for students across the state.

The inaugural was held during the commemoration of Swami Vivekananda’s birth anniversary at Kanteerava Indoor Stadium on Sunday. The government described the empowerment centres as a means of giving students critical guidance to secure them employment after education.

“One centre is being opened in every district as of now,” explained Anirudh Shravan, Director of Collegiate Education, adding that the centres are not only intended to assist students find employment after graduation but also help them stay in education. “The centres will offer career guidance, help students get access to skill-building courses and job placement,” Shravan said, clarifying that while the programme is meant for all students across the state, however, it is currently limited to government college students.

Laptop distribution

The occasion also saw the government kick-start a programme to provide free laptops to first-year degree student studying in government colleges. Dr Rajkumar Khatri, the Additional Chief Secretary of Higher Education, clarified that 1,09,916 laptops would be distributed to students coming under the required criteria from Sunday.

“We hope that the laptops will increase the skills of the students,” Khatri said.

A government official clarified that the total cost of the project was about Rs 300 crore, with each laptop (Acer or Hewlett-Packard) costing the state exchequer Rs 28,000. “The supply of the machines will be completed in a month and we will have them distributed to students 15 days after that,” clarified Shravan. Much of this effort is a move to upskill students to help them adapt to the changing employment scenario worldwide, explained Deputy Chief Minister Ashwath Narayan.

He added, however, that enrollment in skill training has not reached the levels hoped for. “The gross enrollment ratio in skill-based education in the state is currently hovering at around 30%; we hope to raise it to 60% within 10 years,” Narayan said.

The Deputy CM also cautioned students against reaching for the stars: “Don’t just depend on white collar jobs,” he said.

The event also saw the MoU between ICICI Bank and the state. The Bank offered to provide skill training and job placement for 2,500 students. Cisco systems, also exchanged an MoU with the state government over its ‘Mentor Together’ programme, to help give students access to mentorship.

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