Association of Indian Skills Universities (AISU) held their second meeting on 30th December 2017 at Gurugram to formulate standards and guidelines for skills universities in India. The participants includedBrig (Dr) Surjit Pabla, President AISU and Vice Chancellor of Bhartiya Skill Development University (BSDU). Professor Raj Nehru, the Vice- Chancellor of HVSU, Colonel (retired) R K Gosain, Provost, BSDU, Dr Sunil Gupta, Registrar, HVSU, Dr Anurag, Pro-VC, Centurion University of Technology and Management (CUTM), Jayant Joshi, President, Rajendra and Ursula Joshi Charitable Trust (RUJCT), Vikrant Pande, Provost (VC), TeamLease Skills University (TLU), Dr Ashok Shrivastva, Dean, HVSU, Dr Raj Singh, Joint Director, HVSU, Ms Chanchal Bhardwaj, COE, HVSU, Ms Simi Samasundaram, Deputy Director, HVSU, Dr Dalip Raina, Assistant Professor (Management), HVSU, and Sanjay Bhardwaj, Deputy Director, HVSU.
The meeting was organised at Haryana Vishwakarma Skill University (HVSU) and it was conducted by Brig (Dr) Surjit Pabla, President AISU and Vice Chancellor of Bhartiya Skill Development University (BSDU). Professor Raj Nehru, the Vice- Chancellor of HVSU, welcomed the Vice Chancellors and other members and informed them about the urgent need for the meeting called on a short notice.
Dr Pabla stated that the UGC has constituted a committee to make guidelines for skills universities and since these norms are likely to be formulated by a committee which may not have any representatives of Skills Universities, it may not be appropriate for the skills universities.
So AISU had met to chalk out a strategy to have its representatives included in the UGC committee and other government committees to ensure that they can guide the authorities accordingly and come up with efficient norms which would help in enabling robust skill universities to skill the unskilled. “In case the UGC issues the guidelines based on the recommendations of its committee, it will be quite difficult to have these changed. Thus we had to meet urgently to send our recommendations before UGC finalizes its guidelines. We need to make suitable recommendations for Skills Universities to the UGC and to MSDE before they finalize their norms for us,” Professor Raj Nehru, Vice Chancellor, HVSU said.
He pointed out that Skills Universities must ensure that the beneficiaries actually benefit on the ground level. “We also need to develop a mechanism where a student who has already gone through various certificate or diploma, degree courses at different skill institutions, his data should be made available at central repository system and that should be readily available to all skill varsities. As such we would be able to track and use the skills adequately to the benefit of the student and the industry,” added Professor Nehru. The AISU members will also be meeting skill development authorities in Pune on January 11 before they send their recommendations to the UGC.
Nomenclatures of degrees in Skills Universities
For nomenclatures of degrees, at present in skill degrees only Bachelor of Vocation (B.Voc) and Master of Vocation (M.Voc) are included in the UGC list of degrees that can be awarded by Indian universities. But since the word vocational is not seen aspirational and does not excite students to enrol into skill courses, it was debated whether B.Skill and M.Skill with the name of skill discipline in brackets, as recommended by Prof Lalit K Panwar, Vice Chancellor RILDSU Jaipur, will be a more preferable name for skills degrees. After discussing some more suggestions made by members, it was decided that B.Skill and M.Skill should recommended to UGC for inclusion in the UGC List of Degrees. Till the UGC includes these in its list, the present nomenclature i,e, B.Voc and M.voc will be used.
The members also suggested that Skill University’s territorial jurisdiction limit needs to be waived. Skill Universities should be allowed to start-off campuses in the other regions to facilitate and integrate with the on-the-job training besides having live virtual classes. The AISU will soon form a committee to recommend the modalities on the virtual classes, which will be submitted to the UGC. Members also recommended that Skill Universities should have the flexibility to enrol students from Class 9 onwards. Presently the UGC’s educational criterion for admission is 10+2 from a recognized board. The Skills University would also accept students from Open Schooling and RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning floated by the MSDE).
Recommendations and guidelines for Skills Universities
Unlike other Universities, there must be guidelines regarding the structure of a Skills University given that it deals with multiple sectors, trades and job roles. AISU has prepared Norms for Skills Universities. These were presented by Brig Pabla to the members and it was decided to send these norms to the UGC and MSDE after the meeting at Pune on 11th January. It was decided that AISU will be open to taking membership from skill universities and conventional universities, which are offering skills programs.
Dr Pabla informed that BSDU, Jaipur will offer skills programme leading to skill certificate, skill diploma, advanced diploma, B.Voc and M.Voc in all skill areas. It will not offer the regular programs offered by the normal universities. He stressed that a Skill University should be multidisciplinary like the conventional universities. It should necessarily offer Postgraduate and Doctoral programs. “Our faculties will include automotive skills, electrical skills. Informatics, Photonics and Robotics, Woodwork and interior fittings, Office administration, Polymechanic skills, healthcare and paramedics at present and more faculties will be added in the coming years. We have tied up with 25 different industries where our students will have practical exposure and enhance their skills. We aim to offer industry integration model where students earn and learn. Skills education is necessarily industry related. On completion of skill certificate, a student should be industry ready, Dr Pabla stated,” Dr Pabla asserted.