Published: 23rd January 2018
Skilling them early: How AISECT is ensuring job readiness for students across India
For a student, learning beyond the textbook is important for a well-rounded education. Akshaya Asokan finds out how AISECT, a skilling agency is providing this for the students of Odisha
The All India Society for Electronics and Computer Technology (AISECT), a nationwide leader in skills education, recently partnered with the Odisha government for the implementation of a centrally sponsored programme for the vocationalisation of higher education. As part of the scheme and as a means for last-mile delivery, AISECT will offer skill development and training programmes in the IT/ITeS sector across various schools in Odisha, otherwise inaccessible due to various constraints.
We caught up with Abhishek Gupta, Project Head of AISECT to learn about the project, its implementation and what they are doing to reach out to more students. Excerpts:
Wide range: AISECT is implementing the National Skills Qualification Framework’s (NSQF) recommendations in 744 schools across 11 states and has trained over 24,800 candidates so far, in 2016-17 alone
Could you tell us about the project and how you plan to implement it?
AISECT has been chosen by the Odisha government as a project implementation agency. We are a pan-India organisation that aims to impart enterprising skills to school children. As part of the Odisha government's Madhyamik Shiksha Mission, we will provide training in the IT/ITeS sector at 19 schools in Mayurbhanj, 6 schools in Keonjhar, 3 schools in Jajpur, 1 in Khordha and 7 in Cuttack. We will also impart skills training to students in the retail sector at 1 school in Khordha and 7 schools in Cuttack. Along with regular training sessions, AISECT will also provide field and industry visits, best-in-class exposure and reputed trainers to all its units under the partnership.
The training that we give as part of this programme is different from the regular classes in school, as we give more importance to each student's IT and retail skills with a purpose of generating livelihood after their schooling. In order to identify each student's interest, they are first placed in a counselling session where they can choose their skill from 11 options. Then we run a psychometric test to help us identify their interest. The training is a four-year course, starting from 9th grade until their 12th. Once the students complete the course, they are left with good domain knowledge and they don't have to spend extra time on training courses. Another important thing is that the study material is developed by Pandit Sundarlal Sharma Central Institute of Vocational Education (PSSCIVE) and we provide the trainers as per government guidelines.
IT factor: Abhishek Gupta, Project Head of AISECT briefs us about how they are skilling young students in IT/ITeS, Retail, BFSI and Telecom sectors
AISECT will be providing training in the IT/ITes sector. That being said, how important is vocational training in the present educational scenario?
It is very important because if we observe the demography of our country, we have a huge surplus of manpower. But this manpower is not job-ready in a particular trade, resulting in bigger inefficiency. Our formal education is not updated and the market requirement for IT/ITeS skills are quite high. However, the vocational programme compiled by the market leader of that particular industry will cater to this need. Which means that the content for IT is developed by NASSCOM, so the courses are created as per market demand and this is not available in the formal education system.
Having worked with the Odisha government before, what are some of the challenges that the education sector faces and how are you planning to overcome it?
Student retention is one of the major challenges that we face currently and in order for students to keep coming back to our class, we constantly innovate our content delivery. We have to conduct proper counselling by briefing students about future opportunities.
Since the schools we visit are mostly located in underdeveloped regions, they lack basic infrastructure like computer labs. At times we are forced to stick to theoretical knowledge rather than practical classes. Some of the challenges are the availability of infrastructure and motivating students and convincing their parents to take up these vocational courses.
With constant change and development in IT/ITeS, BFSI, retail and telecom sectors, how does AISECT plan to provide students with job-ready skills?
Our trainers have to undergo rigorous training and they are updated regularly on their field by experts. In Odisha, we have 116 trainers and we request them for new content, development and methodologies. These are the rules laid down by the government and we have to strictly adhere to them.