The Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya Industrial Training Institute (ITI) at Coimbatore has been offering several technical courses in compliance with NCVT Curriculum. The young boys who join the courses get readily placed in the industry; they are not only highly employable, some of them have even taken the entrepreneurial route. We spoke with Mr. G. Murali, Principal of the ITI to learn more about the 65 year old institution, their achievements and plans for the future and here’s the skill story to read on…
Q: Tell us about the ITI, the curriculum and how it helps in being in proximity to the industrial city of Coimbatore.
A: The Ramakrishna Mission was started by Vivekananda with the idea that education will help people stand on their own feet. This is an NCVT certification compliant ITI, we have been providing vocational training every year across 200 centres to about 2 lakh students.
At the Ramakrishna Mission ITI Coimbatore, we are able to attract industries both for internships as well as employment which is not so easy in other centres. We are ranked 14th in India among all ITIs. We have an advantage of being closer to many industries and we have been able to place all students, in fact, they have more than one job at hand and they can choose!
Q: How do you handle issues like outdated syllabus and the general notion about ITIs vs engineering colleges etc.?
A: Fortunately, the government is continuously changing the curriculum based on NCVT certification, if anything is missing, we bridge the gap by sending the boys to the industry to get to know about latest technologies. We have not received complaints from employers that the students do not have the latest knowledge and skills.
For almost 20 years, there has been industry absorption for all programs here. The young boys are also interested and their parents perception is also changing earlier they wanted them to only go to engineering colleges. Some people who have completed Bachelor of Engineering (BE) also have joined ITI to become employable. They join our short-term courses to enhance their skills and get jobs. We involve parents by conducting periodic meetings and continuously check on the boys and conduct counselling sessions.
I feel if we provide good quality training then the students respond well and are motivated to continue and complete the courses. So we should strive to get them good infrastructure, trainers and activities. In addition to domain training communication skills training and extra-curricular activities like sports and debates that we conduct here are very helpful in shaping them overall. We should aim at making them useful citizens of the country in addition to helping them make a career for themselves.
Q: What are the top jobs that students go for? Are there dropouts and do you train girls too?
A: The top jobs in which they get absorbed are Automobiles, Turner, Machinist, and Electrician. Sometimes, the government changes policies like they changed the eligibility criteria recently from 8th pass to 10th pass but we still get enough students.
Drop outs are minimal in our ITI. Most ITI courses are of two year duration but the Welding course is for one year. After this, they can also join the Diploma course. Now, the NIOS system has come into place and it is equivalent to Plus two. There are about 50 boys who want to join the NIOS course, after this, they can go for B.Voc and BE courses also.
This ITI is meant only for boys. For girls, we have a polytechnic college. We also go to the villages and train them in tailoring, toy making, terracota products etc. It’s called Community development through polytechnic and there is no age bar to join the courses.
Q: How are partnerships with other companies working for you?
A: Mainly, companies are willing to partner with us because of us being a Mission. In the Volvo program apart from providing the infrastructure they have two full time faculty members here and they teach for B.Voc course in Automobiles.
As part of CSR, mostly only equipment is provided by the companies and buildings are ours. They also absorb candidates like Eicher has done.
We are continuously exploring the opportunities for useful partnerships. When I heard of simulators for training in welding, I spent four years seeking donors and now have succeeded. We are currently exploring whether Maruti or any other auto major could partner for the automotive body painting course.
Q: What is the methodology of teaching and tell us about the pedagogic practices?
A: All our courses are class room based right now, but in future we might use mobile apps. The Students also get placed overseas as Electricians, Turners, Machinists and Welders. Government agencies employ Electrical and Mechanical Draughtsmen. Real time production machines are needed for training. We have been purchasing them and are using them for training.
We have been conducting short terms courses since 2006. It is completely based on the industry demand. These courses have evolved based on their requirement. About 9000 students have been trained so far and these courses are offered free of cost. We fund them through government or skill development agencies and get sponsorship from them. For construction courses, also we have tie ups with builders associations.
With regard to the course in Welding, one advantage is that nobody else in this area is offering welding as a course. It’s an NCVT program. It is mandatory for many students from other streams and about 300 students are trained per year. Our college is open from 8.30 a.m to 8.30 p.m, various programs are going on throughout the day, if the students are not able to complete assignments they can stay back and complete and the trainers are also available.
Many people who complete the course here start their own ventures and are highly successful also. There are many success stories, I have been here for 30 years. I joined here when i was 18, I pursued my higher studies after that. They are a few students who have come back as trainers also,