The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has collaborated with Indira Gandhi Open University (IGNOU) to further strengthen the vocational and technical training framework. MSDE partners IGNOU to connect vocational education and training with higher education, thereby making India’s youth more employable by providing them with greater job possibilities.
Trainees affiliated with National Skill Training Institutes (NSTI), Industrial Training Institutes (ITI), Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKK), and Jan Shikshan Sansthans (JSS) will benefit from the programme, which aims to increase students’ upward mobility so that they can pursue higher education and better livelihood opportunities.
32 NSTIs, over 3,000 Government ITIs, 500 PMKKs, and almost 300 JSS will be affiliated with IGNOU as Registration Centers, Examination Centers, and Work Centers for hands-on training as part of the cooperation. Students will now be able to enrol in IGNOU’s three-year degree programme as a result of the agreement.
Rajesh Aggarwal, Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship lauded the initiative and expressed that India’s young demographic dividend is the engine of its economic progress and needs access to meaningful pathways to receive a quality education as well as skill, and vocational training. The initiative is aimed in this direction as it provides higher social and economic mobility to our youth, with requisite qualifications, he added. He further said that our Prime Minister’s vision is to fulfil the aspirations of India’s youth and prepare them for the future world of work and this initiative is aligned with it.
Mr. Aggarwal stressed that IGNOU as an establishment has continuously striven to build an inclusive knowledge environment and he hoped that this collaboration will provide an opportunity to India’s youth population to build their capacities and shape their future. In its initial stage, the joint initiative shall be implemented at the earliest with 32 NSTIs declared as IGNOU centres including courses on foreign language training, skill-based healthcare education, fashion designing and more, he added.
To monitor and review the program’s success, a Project Steering Committee comprising representation from both MSDE and IGNOU will be formed. The Memorandum of Understanding is originally for a period of ten years, with the possibility of renewal based on mutual agreement. This MoU is in line with SDG 4.4 and the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, which aims to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education, including vocational education, to 50% by 2035.
The MoU was signed by Dr. B.K. Ray, Director (CBC), MSDE and Dr. V.B. Negi, Registrar, IGNOU. Prof. Nageshwar Rao, Vice Chancellor, IGNOU stated that IGNOU shall provide all necessary support through its 21 Schools of Studies and 56 Regional Centres for successful implementation of this scheme.
IGNOU will develop standards for quality assurance, develop counselling and trainer training programmes to facilitate students’ enrolments, train the staff of the identified centres to handle the enrolments and counselling, and mentor the management of NSTIs, ITIs, PMKKs and JSSs. It will also provide self-learning material (SLM) in digital form, undertake the comprehensive evaluation and conduct term-end examinations for its own components, and issue certificates to successful learners.