Affordable job-oriented courses are the need of the hour! Community Colleges provide short and long-term courses catering to the needs of local communities through a flexible manner. The courses are skill-based and they are expected to comply with National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF). The objective of Community Colleges is to create a favourable relationship between the community, learner and the job market.
The idea of establishing such colleges in the country was unanimously endorsed in the Conference of State Education Ministers held on 22nd February, 2012 and a Committee of Education Ministers of nine States was constituted to finalize the concept and framework of the Community College scheme. The Committee, after wide consultations with all concerned, presented its report to the Government of India which received the concurrence of the State Education Ministers in the conference held on 6th June, 2012. The Government of India accepted this report and decided to introduce this scheme during the 12th Five Year Plan.
Did you know the 12th Five Year Plan Document of the Planning Commission has laid a special emphasis on expansion of skill-based programmes in higher education? It recommends setting up of Community Colleges (CC) to serve the following needs including
- Career oriented education and skills to students interested in directly entering the workforce;
- training and education programmes for local employers;
- Remedial education for secondary school graduates not ready to enroll in traditional colleges, giving them a path to transfer to three or four year institutions; and
- General interest courses to the community for personal development and interest. The Plan Document also states that Community Colleges will be located to facilitate easy access to underprivileged students and such colleges could either be established as affiliated colleges of universities or as entirely autonomous institutions
Learn more about Community Colleges and the courses offered:
Courses offered by community colleges
- Community Colleges offer courses that are a mix of knowledge and skill components.
- The curriculum under the present 3-year Honours Degree Course is broken into modules/credits specifying the total number of credits required for acquiring a Degree. As the degree is awarded in recognition of a level of knowledge in a subject, the University will also prescribe the number of credits out of the total credits to be acquired for the award of degree in a subject. Similarly, the number of credits required in a subject to get an Honours degree in that subject will also be prescribed.
- The skill component of the curriculum will draw from the credit framework prepared under the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for the concerned sectors of the NSQF. Vocational learning outcome of these courses would essentially conform to the NSQF framework while standards of general education would conform to the University norms. Award of degree will depend solely on acquisition of credits and not on the duration of time spent in pursuing the course.
- These Colleges will also specify the credit requirements for awarding other qualifications, viz. Certificate, Diploma, Advanced Diploma / Associate Degree, etc., so that learners joining the College after Class 12th have option to exit the College at convenience with some qualification in hand.
Community Colleges are empowering individuals and communities by providing skill-based training that leads to employment and a way out of poverty. Skill development enables them to earn a livelihood and also helps them to become productive members of the family. They offer a second chance to a large population of students who either cannot complete their schooling to get an education that creates opportunities for higher education and jobs. Community Colleges are contributing to a social change that is building the human resources in communities across the country led by strong partnership of the local institutions, business, and industry.
Here is a community college in India that is successfully empowering students to use their skills to earn a living and become independent financially.
OP Jindal Community College strives to be one of the global leaders in producing competent and skilled workforce at par with world standards through competency-based technical and vocational training. It is their mission to promote lifelong learning of vocational skills for all, irrespective of age, caste, creed, gender, prior education and socio economic environment, place of birth or location.
They are the training partner of RLC (Raigarh Livelihood College). It is the first of its kind all women’s vocational skills development, residential college dedicated to empowering young women and equipping them with the requisite technical and soft skills needed for employment in our country and outside.
Why we need community colleges
- Contemporary institutions of higher learning remain almost disconnected with the requirements of the workplace. It is also neutral to the cultural heritage of the country, be it the art, craft, handicraft, music, architecture or any such thing, which deserves proper preservation and promotion through educational system with income assurance. Therefore, the curricula being taught in the universities/ institutions today need to be modified suitably and updated regularly in consultation with the industry, business and the service sectors as well as the active social-cultural organisations. This calls for greater interaction between the institutions, industry and society.
- The traditional higher education system in the country is rigid in terms of duration of courses, teaching-learning timings, place of study and choice of subjects. If a student pursuing three year degree course, for any reason, has to leave the course for good just before completing it, he has to go empty-handed without a degree. Skill based short duration courses are more useful for the rural learners looking for employment or self-employment or better employment locally but they are not available in the formal system. Courses available in the market are not credible or fully acceptable to the employers. Such courses would also be enriching for those who are in employment or seeking self-fulfilment.
You can see below how community colleges are an integral part of education system across the world:
- Community Colleges across the world have been working towards the improvement of traditional education system
- They are also providing opportunities for vertical mobility and lifelong learning. Therefore, an idea to establish 100 Colleges on pilot basis on the pattern of Community Colleges of the world was shared in the State Education Ministers’ Conference
- They are also working towards increasing the acceptance of skill oriented courses among employers.
- They are known by different names in different countries. More known amongst them are the Community Colleges, which are in existence in the USA for about a century.
- These colleges provide education above the secondary level and below the degree level with appropriate skills keeping in view the needs of local industry and community there by leading to gainful employment and option for horizontal and vertical mobility.
- While vertical mobility facilitates movement to higher education and research, horizontal mobility creates opportunity for entry into the employment market with appropriate skills. There is also flexibility for further skill development.
It is a system created for addressing the learning needs of the community at low and affordable cost without compromising the quality. In USA, the cost of tuition to the student in Community Colleges is about one-third the cost in regular undergraduate degree colleges. One third of the funding for running the community college comes from Student fees. The Governments at Federal, State, Local levels contribute a major share towards meeting the budgetary requirements of these Community Colleges. In addition, endowments from corporate sector, foundations, and money earned from training programs, etc. also contribute in meeting the financial requirements of the Community Colleges. Community Colleges receive grant from the Government only when it is able to maintain A grade in accreditation.