Students of an engineering college in Bhubaneswar. Telegraph picture
Bhubaneswar, Oct. 12: Engineering colleges in the state have applied to the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to impart skills training programmes under the Pradhan Mantri KaushalVikas Yojana.
At least 80 engineering colleges out of the total 110 across the state have applied for skill training programmes from the AICTE.
The faculty members in these engineering colleges will now provide training to unemployed youth, including school dropouts and matriculates in various disciplines. The institutions can utilise their infrastructure for offering various kinds of courses during the off-college hours.
The AICTE in July decided to amend its existing norms on conducting programmes related to skill development. The move has been taken to meet the skill training target set up by the Centre. With the new rules in place, engineering and polytechnic colleges will now be able to offer government approved certificate courses on skill development.
The development has come as a boon for engineering institutions in the state, which are struggling because of a large number of vacant seats.
Only 15,000 seats of the total 45,000 seats in 94 private colleges and seven government colleges were filled up after two rounds of counselling this year.
"This is the only option left with many engineering colleges. However, getting students for skill training courses is going to be an equally difficult task. Although the government will take care of the course fee, it will not be a cakewalk," said a promoter of an engineering college, not wanting to be named.
"Under this initiative, funds will be released directly to the institutions by the Centre but not before each candidate is provided a placement and has drawn a salary for three months," the promoter of the college said.
Engineering and polytechnic institutes interested in offering these skill development courses would still need to get prior approval from the AICTE before offering such courses. The AICTE has already notified the amendments in an official gazette.
Odisha has set a target to skill train at least eight lakh youths by 2019. In June, the state launched the Odisha Skill Development Authority led by IT honcho Subroto Bagchi, to bring convergence among skill development programmes conducted by different departments.
The state has already identified priority areas such as hotel and hospitality management, security management, tourist management, information technology and other types of industrial training, based on which the youths will be imparted training and provided suitable jobs.